The world of Brian Bromberg
Brian was born December 5th, 1960 in Tucson Arizona. He grew up in a family of musicians and artists. His father and brother played the drums. With all that music around the house, and drums all over the place, it was natural for Brian to start playing the drums as well. Brian was two and a half years old, beating up the furniture and banging on anything that didn't move. After some years of playing and practicing, Brian began his professional career as a drummer at the age of thirteen.
In elementary and Jr.high School, Brian also played the cello. That was one instrument that Brian did not feel very comfortable playing. One day in orchestra class at jr. high, the orchestra director came over to Brian and said, hey Brian, you see that big bass over there in the corner? You know that nobody is playing it. Don't you want to play that big cool bass over there? You see, the orchestra director had a plan. He thought that having one bad bass player was better then not having one at all. That was his way of getting Brian to stop trying to saw his cello in half!
That day was a blessing in disguise. Brian didn't realize that he had the gift for melody as well as rhythm. With his drumming background, and all this new melody available to him from the bass, Brian knew that this was going to be his path.
From ages fourteen to eighteen, Brian locked himself up in a room and practiced day and night. Testing out of high school early and devoting all his time to music, for the next few years Brian played every type of gig imaginable. Quite often Brian would play five to seven nights a week with several different bands.
Brian's first big break came in 1979 when Marc Johnson, the wonderful bassist with the great jazz pianist Bill Evans, heard Brian play. Several months later while on tour, Marc ran into legendary jazz saxophonist Stan Getz. Stan was looking for a new bass player and asked Marc if he knew any new young players. Marc told Stan about Brian. Brian auditioned for Stan and joined the Stan Getz quintet in December of 1979. Brian had just turned 19 and spent nearly a year touring the world with Stan and his band.
Since then, Brian has toured, performed and or recorded with some of the greatest artists of our time including the likes of:
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Brian has also played on many movie soundtracks, including:
Brian's solo career began with the release of his first album A New Day in 1986. Right from the beginning with this first release, critics started noticing that Brian was different, doing things with the bass that had not been done before. Bromberg's reputation was starting to spread throughout the world. Smooth jazz radio took notice as well, breaking Brian into the format and charting with his first record.
His next release Basses Loaded, started to propel his visibility more. Even the title track became a cult classic amongst many bass players. Again, radio embraced his music and Brian was beginning to be recognized as a composer as well as a bassist.
Brian's very much anticipated third release, Magic Rain was the #1 most added record to radio in the country within the first week of release. Many people feel that this recording is when Brian started really coming into his own skin as an artist.
Bromberg's fourth release BASSically Speaking, actually a reissue of Brian's first recording with some new tracks and additions, went top 5 on the radio charts and #7 on the Billboard sale's charts.
Brian chose to go back to his mainstream jazz roots for his fifth release, It's About Time, The Acoustic Project. This is a straight ahead jazz record that feature's jazz greats "Freddie Hubbard" and "Ernie Watts". This is an all-acoustic jazz record that went to #4 on the mainstream jazz charts.
In February 1998, Brian released You Know That Feeling, An exceptional CD featuring smooth jazz greats, Rick Braun, Joe Sample, Jeff Lorber, and Everette Harp, among many others. By June of '98, Brian had his first #1 record of his career and had three singles in a row that each went to #3 on the charts. He spent 17 consecutive months on the charts, 8 months in the top 10, nearly 6 months in the top 5. Brian's CD was the 5th most played CD from the top 100 CD's of the year in smooth jazz. To this day, You Know That Feeling still remains in regular rotation on smooth jazz stations across the country.
In 2002 Brian recorded his first acoustic jazz trio CD Wood featuring the incredible Randy Waldman on piano and Brian’s brother David Bromberg on drums. A mixture of jazz standards and modern classics ranging from Cole Porter to the Beatles. This recording not only sold very well throughout the world, but it also gained Brian quite a bit of notoriety as an acoustic bass virtuoso as well as a respected producer. The audio quality of this recording has been compared with some of the best sounding recordings in jazz. Wood has been used all over the world to demo the highest quality audiophile stereo equipment available and has become a standard in many audiophile retail stores throughout the world.
Brian’s next project, Jaco, was originally released in Japan. The concept of the project was to have an all star cast of bass players contribute one song each on a CD that was a tribute to Jaco Pastorius’s 50th birthday, had he lived. Brian was slated to produce the project and was only going to play one song on the record with the remaining songs played by other well known bassists. For unknown reasons that puzzled both Brian as well and the record company, almost every single bassist that was asked to participate on the CD fell though. The record company decided that there couldn’t be a tribute CD featuring one musician. By default the record became a Brian Bromberg project featuring many of Jaco’s most well known songs, in addition to tunes that were made popular by the group Weather Report that Jaco had a major presence in. Needless to say, Brian looked at this as a very daunting task and often says that it is impossible to fill Jaco’s shoes, and certainly no bass player can out Jaco, Jaco. Brian truly made this his own project and significantly changed the arrangements on many of the popular songs while using his acoustic bass as a major voice on the CD. Jaco never played the acoustic bass yet Brian used his greatest tool to give tribute to one of the best electric bass players that has ever lived. This CD holds a very special place in Brian’s heart because on many occasions he had hung out and even played with Jaco. It meant a lot to Brian to make a record honoring a musician that he respected so much. Brian’s CD Choices in 2005 is a recording made up of music that was in his mind and heart for a long time. Most of the music on
Choices was written and inspired from real life experience. Brian looks at this CD as a book of short stories. Each song is a different story with a common theme of the artists’ voice. He wanted to tell many different kinds of stories with a collection of music, using vastly different types of songs and styles, from funky grooves like "Never Give Up", "Bass Face" and "B²," all the way to true human experiences like the Columbine High School tragedy in the
Brian’s next release called Metal is his first instrumental rock fusion recording highlighting his command of the piccolo bass. When you listen to this record you would swear that it is a screaming rock guitar record, yet there is not one single guitar on this CD. Brian has yet again demonstrated how he can push the envelope as an innovator of the bass.
After rocking out with Metal, Brian chose to follow up with a sequel to his award winning acoustic jazz trio CD, Wood with Wood II. Wood II shows more of Brian’s sense of humor and adds a breath of fresh air to a Jazz trio project. It features the incredible talent of Randy Waldman on piano, and the world’s most in demand drummer Vinnie Colaiuta. Truly the perfect blend of serious traditional jazz and lighthearted fun that will make you smile.
Still in the acoustic vibe, Brian received his first Grammy Nomination with his next project Downright Upright. Another groundbreaking project for Brian as it topped the Smooth Jazz and the Traditional Jazz charts at the same time with the same record. This is a very challenging feat. The CD features an all star cast including Rick Braun, Vinnie Colaiuta, George Duke, Boney James, Jeff Lorber, Lee Ritenour, Ganin Arnold, and Kirk Whalum. A blend of originals and jazz classics, this without a doubt a fun, funky, feel good record.
Brian’s next American release after his Grammy nominated Downright Upright is the fun and funky It Is What It Is, This CD is quite a departure from his past few releases. It focuses heavily on the electric bass and has an in your face ten piece horn section! Bromberg gets loose and groovy throughout the 13 tracks on It Is What It Is, including his unique spin on the B52's dance classic "Love Shack” and Quincy Jones’ theme song to the classic hit TV series “Sanford and Son”. Brian is joined again by some of the greatest musicians in the world including: George Duke, Patrice Rushen, Jeff Lorber, Randy Brecker, Eric Marienthal, Gerald Albright, Richard Elliot, Rick Braun, Will Kennedy, Dave Weckl, Alex Acuña, Paul Jackson Jr., Dan Siegel and more.
Brian’s next project is his first completely solo acoustic bass CD called Hands. Originally released in Japan, this CD was the vision of King Records executive Susumu Morikawa. Recorded at a beautiful private recording studio on a ranch surrounded by horses and giant California Redwoods, this CD is truly one of a kind. It is a purely audio file recording which was captured using three state of the art Neumann digital microphones. It was recorded at 24 bit 96Khz bandwidth and is a remarkable recording. The diversity of the songs makes this album an adventure to listen to. The listener will experience everything from jazz classics like Stella By Starlight and In A Sentimental Mood, to songs by The Beatles, Jaco Pastorius, Sting ("King Of Pain"), and even Led Zeppelin ("Black Dog") and Usher ("Yeah"). If you are a fan of the acoustic double bass you will love this State of the art solo bass recording.
“One thing I feel that makes Compared To That a unique project is that it is a live jazz recording that also has a ten-piece horn section on many tracks, a full orchestra string section on two cuts, and the production of a much bigger project. Essentially, it really was a two-day live jazz recording session along with 3-1/2 months of the kind of production used on big pop records. I truly blended the best of both worlds: live acoustic jazz with the audiophile of a major production,” Bromberg said. “I went more to my jazz roots on this CD with a lot of swing and walking bass.”
Throughout the album, Bromberg plays his acoustic, electric and piccolo basses, throwing in funk, ballads and swing styles along the way. the centerpiece of Compared To That is an incredible orchestral composition called Hayride, featuring the brilliant banjo virtuoso Bela Fleck.
In addition to the horn and string sections, Bromberg enlisted an impressive line-up of guest artists to appear on the album, including Alex Acuna, Gannin Arnold, Charlie Bisharat, Randy Brecker, Vinnie Colaiuta, George Duke, Bela Fleck, Mitch Forman, Larry Goldings, Jeff Lorber, Gary Meek and Tom Zink.
In 2012 Bromberg released two CD's dedicated and inspired by two of the 1960's most influencial and unique artists, Jimi Hendrix and Antonio Carlos Jobim. Bromberg Plays Hendrix is a high energy shredding rock/fusion CD playing the most popular songs from Jimi Hendrix featuring the amazing Drummer Vinnie Colaiuta. Brian uses about 11 different basses on this CD truly showcasing Brian's versitilty on the bass as well as his mastery of the piccolo bass which is a bass tuned to the register og a guitar. People cannot believe that Brian on piccolo bass is not playing guitar. In fact guitar players are regularly quite shocked that what they are hearing players is actually on a bass and not a guitar. Not to many holiday cards from guitar players for Brian these days!
In addition to Brian’s success as a solo artist, he has developed quite a reputation as a producer. To see some of the projects that Brian has produced, go to the B² Productions area of the site as there are many CD’s and sound bites from some of those projects.
All in all, Brian has produced at least a dozen top #10 hits as well as three #1 songs for several artists!
Brian certainly has evolved into a very respected voice in music industry. From smashing through the barriers of how the bass is SUPPOSED to be played, cutting edge bass design, to being recognized as a world-class producer, songwriter, and session musician. He keeps pushing the envelope to become the best that he can be and to keep pushing the boundaries. As Brian himself says, "There are no rules, just dreams".
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