Randy Brecker Biography
Randy Brecker has been shaping the sound of Jazz, R&B and rock for more than two decades. His trumpet and flugelhorn performances have added sparkle and verve to a wide range of works, with artists ranging from James Taylor to Blood, Sweat and Tears, to straight-ahead Jazzmen including Horace Silver and Art Blakey.
Randy Brecker was born into a very musical family on November 27, 1945 in Cheltenham, Pennsylvania, just outside Philadelphia. His father Bob is a pianist, songwriter and singer who loved to listen to recordings of the great jazz trumpet players such as Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie and Clifford Brown. After high school, Randy attended Indiana University where he studied jazz with David Baker and trumpet with Bill Adam. Randy played in the IU Jazz Band, and after winning the Notre Dame Jazz Festival in 1966, they did a 3 month tour of Asia. Following the tour Randy stayed in Europe to study jazz with saxophonist Don Menza, then moved to New York and began his long career as one of the top trumpeters in jazz, working with Chuck Israel, Duke Pearson, Joe Henderson and the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra. Randy also found work with Clark Terry, who had seen him at the Notre Dame Jazz Festival where he was a judge.
Randy soon began interested in jazz-rock and helped to form Blood, Sweat and Tears. He then joined the Horace Silver Quintet where he remained for the next two years. After Horace Silver, Randy joined forces with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers before teaming up with brother Michael, Barry Rogers, Billy Cobham, and John Abercrombie to form the seminal fusion group Dreams. The group recorded two adventurous and wildly acclaimed albums - now collector's items - for Columbia Records before they disbanded in 1971.
In 1973, Randy was back with Horace Silver, teaming up with brother Michael as the front line in Horace's quintet. By now, the two horn players had become two of the most in-demand studio musicians of the day. The following year, the brothers joined Billy Cobham's group, and by 1975 they were ready to front their own band.
The Brecker Brothers were to become a band of immeasurable influence and impact. Hailed by pop and jazz critics alike, their first album, which Randy produced, was nominated for four Grammys. The Brecker Brothers went on to record a total of six albums and garner seven Grammy nominations between 1975 and 1981.
In the late 70s. Randy recorded on Charles Mingus' last album. Me Myself and Eye. Randy has performed with various incarnations of Mingus Dynasty Big Bands and Epitaphs up to the present day.
In late '81, after ten years together, the group split up. Randy joined (bassist) Jaco Pastorius’ band, touring the U.S. and recording a live album in Japan, which was released as Word of Mouth on Warner Brothers. He stayed with Jaco until 1982, when he met jazz pianist, Eliane Elias, who he would soon marry. They decided to form a group, toured the world several times and recorded one album, Amanda, for Passport Records.
Randy and Eliane toured the world several times, and worked together until 1986, when Randy cut his first acoustic jazz album, In the Idiom, for Denon Records. Produced and arranged by Randy, the album featured saxophonist Joe Henderson, bassist Ron Carter, drummer Al Foster and a young pianist named Dave Kikosky.
In late 1986, Brecker assembled a group including Kikosky, Bob Berg on tenor saxophone, Joey Baron on drums and Dieter Ilg on bass. They toured Europe several times, including a State Department tour of Eastern Europe, and cut an album's worth of material at the celebrated New York venue Sweet Basil.
And in 1992, exactly ten years after they disbanded, Randy and Michael joined forces again in a much heralded reunion featuring a world tour and the triple-Grammy nominated GRP recording, The Return of the Brecker Brothers.
In 1996, drawn to and inspired by the music of Brazil since his first visit there in 1979, Randy offered up his impression of Brazilian music mixed with pinches of Latin, world music, funk and Jazz on Into the Sun. which won Randy his first Grammy as a soloist for "Best Contemporary Jazz Performance." Randy closed the year on tour with the Mingus Big Band across the U.S. and South America, and the Carnegie Hall Big Band in Europe. 1998 began with Randy's appearance on tour as a special guest with Billy Cobham in the U.K.
The New York Chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences has honored Randy for three years straight as “Most Valuable Trumpet Player”.
1968 Blood Sweat & Tears "Child Is Father To The Man" (Columbia)
1969 Score (Blue Note)
1972 Horace Silver Quintet "In Pursuit Of The 27th Man" (Blue Note)
1975 The Brecker Brothers "The Brecker Brothers" (Arista)
1976 The Brecker Brothers "Back To Back" (Arista)
1977 The Brecker Brothers "Don't Stop The Music" (Arista)
1978 The Brecker Brothers "Heavy Metal Bebop" (Arista)
1980 The Brecker Brothers "Detente" (Arista)
1981 The Brecker Brothers "Straphangin" (Arista)
1985 Amanda (Passport)
1986 In the Idiom (Denon)
1988 Live at Sweet Basil (GNP Crescendo)
1990 Toe to Toe (MCA)
1992 The Brecker Brothers "Return Of The Brecker Brothers" (GRP)
1994 The Brecker Brothers "Out Of The Loop" (GRP)
1995 Into the Sun (Concord Jazz)
1997 Horace Silver Quintet "A Prescription For The Blues" (Impulse!)
2001 Hanging in the City (ESC)