Concert Reviews, Reviews
Brian Bromberg’s Full Circle Acoustic Band@Catalina’s 05.13.16
by George W. Harris • May 14, 2016 •
Somehow, bassist Brian Bromberg has been always labeled under the “smooth jazz” category. Well, if Bromberg proved anything Friday night with his Full Circle Acoustic Band, it’s that there’s a world of difference between “smooth” jazz and “jazz that’s played smoothly.”
Featuring material from his recently released and muscularly swinging album, Bromberg started things off with his quartet of Mitch Forman/p, Joel Taylor/dr and Doug Webb/ts and had his upright dance along the strings with the nimble depth of Dumbo on Parade with snapping drums and beefy tenor on the bopping “Full Circle” and the double time toe tapper “Boomerang.”
A five piece horn section that included Ricky Woodard/bari and Bob Summers/tp jumped up on stage right as Forman pulled out his accordion to create a steam roller of energy for the irresistible back beat of “Naw’Lins!” while Bromberg created a rivulet of a groove on the incessantly driving “Sneaky Pete” while the horns added punctuations with more accents than a Sicilian wedding.
Forman created some vibey sounds on the keyboard which mixed with Webb’s breathy tenor as Bromberg’s mellow “Susumu’s Blues” highlighted the ability of the leader to create rich melodies on the deeply sonorous strings while his nifty line on “Bernie’s Bop” featured Webb blowing smoke rings that wafted through the air.
Bromberg then put down his giant upright, exchanged it for the hip looking 4 string piccolo bass and channeled Wes Montgomery with a sleek “Saturday Night In The Village” before the horns leaped back on the scene for a steamy and sweaty “Havana Nights” that had Taylor table dancing with his sticks while Webb and the horns sizzled like roasted peppers.
Cracking jokes between songs to keep the mood as festive as the music (“buy our latest disc, and I’ll sign it “Stanley Clarke”), Bromberg commented that ‘there are two kinds of music; that which is played well, and that not played well.’ He proved his point as he and the band moonwalked through a blistering take of a Michael Jackson hit that filled the room with ricocheting notes that had the packed club letting the band know they didn’t want it to stop ‘cause they couldn’t get enough.
It is music like this, delivered with originality, chops and joy of the art that made me fall in love with jazz in the first place. How many times does music return you to your first love?