This is a logical tribute album from one great bassist (Brian Bromberg) to another (Jaco Pastorius). The front of the CD purposely resembles Pastorius' debut recording and the program features six Pastorius songs (including two versions apiece of "Come on, Come Over" and "Teen Town"), Joe Zawinul's "A Remark You Made," the R&B standard "The Chicken," and Bromberg's "Tears." A master at tapping his bass and equally skilled on electric and acoustic basses, Bromberg also has the ability to sound a bit like Pastorius when he wants. This excellent tribute set uses different personnel and instrumentations on each selection and shows off the many sides of Pastorius, both as a bassist and as a composer.
You thought Marcus Miller and Jaco and Stanley Clark were funky? They are indeed but they don't play the double bass. Brian Bromberg displays absolute chops that Charles Mingus would have wanted. Akira Jimbo as usual with his unbelievable groove keeps the whole album going and Otomaro Ruiz is one hell of a pianist. With this CD you CAN'T go wrong.
Few are the bass players who the average music fan can name. There are simply not that many who stand out as more than a member of the rhythm section, however tight. Paul McCartney. Sting. Bootsy Collins. Tony Levin. Gene Simmons. These may be the greater part of a list that, for most, is no larger than one hand long. Shorter still is the list of bassists who can take their playing one step further. Brian Bromberg is one such bass player. Having originally begun his musical career on drums, Bromberg soon switched to classical upright bass. Though this switch was more or less his choice, Bromberg's next musical move was more demanded than decided: in order to get a gig with Stan Getz's band, Bromberg dropped the upright, picked up an electric four-string and, leaving home on his 19th birthday, started down his own musical road less taken.
In his career, Brian Bromberg has recorded bop, fusion, and smooth with equal fluency and creativity on acoustic and electric basses. Choices is somewhat commercial, with funky rhythms, R&B-ish solos, and fade-outs. In general, the solos are more memorable than Bromberg's originals and grooves. While the material is mostly routine, the improvisations of Bromberg and altoist Eric Marienthal are excellent and the musicianship is impressive. But no real surprises occur, making this a lesser and generally easy listening effort by the hugely talented Brian Bromberg.
One glance at the personnel, which includes such popular "smooth" players as tenors Kirk Whalum and Boney James, trumpeter Rick Braun, and pianists George Duke and Jeff Lorber, could easily lead one to believe that this CD is filled with vacuous and mildly soulful background music. Actually, the playing on Downright Upright is a surprise, for most of the selections are reasonably creative renditions of soul-jazz.
World-renowned acoustic and electric bassist Brian Bromberg hasn’t released an album in the U.S. since 2012, a fact that might not have been cause for concern if you know that at one point he released three albums in one year. Every man deserves a break. However, once you realize that this chameleon with over 20 projects in his catalog recently had reason to believe that he might never play music again, you understand the gravity of his latest acoustic jazz project, Full Circle - one he says may well be “the most important record of my career.” Like all of his work, Bromberg’s latest features a stellar cast that includes trumpeter Arturo Sandoval, saxophonists Bob Sheppard, Kirk Whalum and Doug Webb, pianists Randy Waldman,Mitch Forman and Otmaro Ruiz, and percussionist Alex Acuña. The project also finds ‘the man that refuses to sit still’ mixing styles from New Orleans funk and a legit jazz cover of Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop `Til You Get Enough” to Cubop - with a sizzling relentless swing throughout.