Through the years, the two Brecker brothers have been among the busiest musicians in the business. Still, they've reunited from time to time to explore new directions and occasionally to revisit those exciting early days. In November, 2003, they traveled to Koln, Germany for a concert with the WDR Big Band and a rhythm section including old pals Will Lee and drummer Peter Erskine. The performance was released a few weeks ago as Some Skunk Funk.
Drawing from a setlist heavy on Brecker Brothers classics with a few of Randy's recent compositions thrown in for good measure, this disc shows that jazz and funk can still be fused together for a fresh, inspired 21st century sound. Wrapped in the phat arrangements of conductor Vince Mendoza, the songs cook with the added intensity of the WDR's fourteen-piece horn section. The solos are masterful, the Brecker boys giving lessons in improvisational musicality and virtuosity.
Besides the strength of the music itself, this recording has extra poignancy--Michael Brecker was diagnosed early last year with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), a rare blood cancer also known as "pre-leukemia" for which the treatment is a bone marrow transplant from someone with a similar genetic background. When no matching donors could be found, he underwent an experimental blood stem cell transplant that, according to his website, "did not work as hoped." He is, however, currently leukemia-free and recuperating from his treatments
Originally published in Port Folio Weekly, 8/8/06.
Copyright 2006 Jim Newsom/Port Folio Weekly. All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission.