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Randy Brecker

Randy Brecker
File:Randy Brecker photo with trumbet, taken by wife Ada, April 2014.jpeg
Randy Brecker 2014
Background information
Birth name Randal Edward Brecker
Born (1945-11-27) November 27, 1945 (age 70)
Cheltenham, Pennsylvania
United States
Genres Jazz, fusion, funk, R&B, rock
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Trumpet, flugelhorn
Labels Blue Note, Arista, GNP Crescendo Record Co., MCA, GRP, Naxos, Telarc, MAMA, Denon
Associated acts Brecker Brothers, Stanley Turrentine, Billy Cobham, Bruce Springsteen, Lou Reed, Sandip Burman, Charles Mingus, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Horace Silver, Frank Zappa, Parliament-Funkadelic, Gary Husband's Force Majeure, Chris Parker, Jaco Pastorius, Dire Straits

Randal "Randy" Brecker (born November 27, 1945) is an American trumpeter[1] and flugelhornist. His versatility in different musical genres has made him a sought-after player, equally accomplished in playing jazz, rock, and R&B. He has also worked as a studio player for many famous musicians. He has performed or recorded with Stanley Turrentine, Billy Cobham, Larry Coryell, Bruce Springsteen, Lou Reed, Sandip Burman, Charles Mingus, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Horace Silver, Frank Zappa, Parliament-Funkadelic, Chris Parker, Jaco Pastorius, Dire Straits, Todd Rundgren, Blue Öyster Cult, Richard Barone, Spyro Gyra, Barbara Dennerlein and many others. In his formative years, Brecker studied trumpet with Bill Adam at Indiana University.

Early life

Born in 1945 in the Philadelphia suburb of Cheltenham to a musical family, he attended Cheltenham High School from 1959 to 1963[2] and then Indiana University from 1963 to 1966 studying with Bill Adam, David Baker[3] and Jerry Coker and later moved to New York and performed with Clark Terry's Big Bad Band, the Duke Pearson and the The Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra.


In 1967, Brecker ventured into jazz-rock with the band Blood, Sweat & Tears, on their first album Child Is Father to the Man, but left to join the Horace Silver Quintet. Brecker recorded his first solo album, Score, in 1968, featuring his brother Michael Brecker.

After Horace Silver, Randy Brecker joined Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers before teaming up with brother Michael, Barry Rogers, Billy Cobham, and John Abercrombie to form the fusion group Dreams. The group recorded two albums: Dreams and Imagine My Surprise for Columbia Records before they disbanded in 1971.

In the early 1970s, Brecker performed live with many artists including The Eleventh House, Stevie Wonder and Billy Cobham. He also recorded several albums with his brother under pianist/composer Hal Galper.

By 1975, Randy and Michael formed the Brecker Brothers band. They released six albums on Arista and garnered seven Grammy nominations between 1975 and 1981.[4] Their first record featured Randy's composition "Some Skunk Funk".

After the Brecker Brothers disbanded in 1982, Randy recorded and toured as a member of Jaco Pastorius' Word of Mouth big band. It was soon thereafter that he met and later married Brazilian jazz pianist Eliane Elias. Eliane and Randy formed their own band, touring the world several times and recording one album together, Amanda on Passport Records.

In 1992 Randy and Michael reunited for a world tour and the triple-Grammy nominated GRP recording The Return of the Brecker Brothers.[5] The follow-up, 1994's Out of the Loop, was a double-Grammy winner.[6] In 1995 he was featured on Turtles, an album by Polish composer Włodek Pawlik.[7]

In 1997, Into the Sun (Concord), a recording featuring Brecker's impressions of Brazil, garnered Brecker his first Grammy as a solo artist.

In 2001, Brecker released Hangin' in the City (ESC), a solo project that introduced his alter-ego Randroid with lyrics and vocals by Randroid himself. This CD was released in Europe, where Brecker toured extensively with his own line-up.[8]

Brecker's next CD for ESC Records, 34th N Lex, won him his third Grammy for Best Contemporary Jazz Album in 2003. That summer he went back to Europe with the Bill Evans Soulbop Band.[9]

In the summer of 2003 the Brecker Brothers appeared in Japan at the Mount Fuji Jazz Festival.[10]

2004 saw Brecker touring Europe as co-leader (with Bill Evans) of the band Soulbop. The WDR Big Band also invited Brecker to perform at the [Jazz Fest]. The date was of significance to Randy as it was the last time he played with his brother, who took ill shortly thereafter with a rare form of leukemia known as MDS.

In 2005, Brecker's wife Ada sat in for the first time.[11] Brecker's schedule continued with the Randy Brecker Band performing throughout Eastern Europe.

In 2007, Brecker was awarded his fourth Grammy for Randy Brecker Live with the WDR Big Band (Telarc/BHM), the live recording (also available in DVD format) of his performance with Michael at the Leverkusen Jazz Fest in 2004.[12] Michael died that same year on January 13.[13]

2007 also saw the release of a two-CD set of live recordings of the band Soulbop (BHM) featuring Dave Kikoski, Victor Bailey, Steve Smith, Rodney Holmes and Hiram Bullock.[14]

Brecker returned to Brazilian music in 2008 for the album Randy in Brazil, which was recorded in São Paulo with Brazilian musicians and released on Summit Records. Chosen as one of the top 10 CDs of 2008 by All About Jazz, the CD won the Grammy for "Best Contemporary Jazz Album", bringing his Grammy total to five.[12]

A Tribute to the Brecker Brothers featuring Randy and recorded live at the Hamamatsu Jazz Festival in Japan with Yoichi Murata's Solid Brass & Big Band was released by JVC Victor in Japan in late 2008.[15]

In 2009, Brecker released Jazz Suite Tykocin, a project initiated and conceived by Włodek Pawlik, featuring Randy as a soloist with members of the Bialystok Philharmonic. Tykocin is the area in Poland where Brkecken's ancestors (mother's maiden name: Tecosky) hail from, a fact that Pawlik discovered.[16]

2011 saw the release of The Jazz Ballad Song Book: Randy Brecker with the Danish Radio Big Band and The Danish National Chamber Orchestra, which garnered four Grammy nominations and critical acclaim.[17] In 2012, Legacy Recordings released the boxed set The Brecker Brothers – The Complete Arista Albums Collection. In November of that year the album Night in Calisia, a collaboration between Brecker, the Wlodek Pawlik Trio, the Kalisz Philharmonic Orchestra and Adam Klocek was released in Poland. The album came out in the US in August 2013, and won the 2014 Grammy Award for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album, Brecker's sixth Grammy Award.[18]

A Brecker Brothers Band Reunion tour of European festivals in the summer of 2013 supported Brecker's Brecker Brothers Band Reunion, a dual-disk project which was released on September 25, 2013 on Piloo Records. It features a live DVD recorded at the Blue Note in New York City with a new 11-song studio recording featuring members of the Brecker Brothers bands from throughout the years including David Sanborn, Mike Stern, Bill Lee, and Dave Weckl. George Whitty produced the album, and Brecker's wife Ada Rovatti also played saxophone. The recording was released in North America by Magenta/E-One, in Europe by Moosicus Records in November and in Japan by Victor. It is dedicated to his brother, Michael, and other departed Brecker Brothers Band members.[19][20]


As leader

  • Score (1969) Solid State
  • The Brecker Brothers (1975) Arista
  • Back to Back – The Brecker Brothers (1976) Arista
  • Don't Stop the MusicThe Brecker Brothers (1977) Arista
  • The Atlantic Family Live in Montreaux (1977)
  • Heavy Metal Bebop – The Brecker Brothers (1978) Arista
  • Detente – The Brecker Brothers (1980) Arista
  • Straphangin' – The Brecker Brothers (1981) Arista
  • Amanda(1985) Passport
  • In the Idiom (1986) Denon
  • Live at Sweet Basil (1988) GNP Crescendo Record Co.
  • Toe to Toe (1990) MCA
  • Return of the Brecker Brothers – The Brecker Brothers (1992) GRP
  • Out of the Loop – The Brecker Brothers (1994) GRP
  • Into the Sun (1995) Concord Jazz
  • Katewalk – Lew Del Gatto (1997) Naxos
  • Hangin' in the City (2001) ESC
  • 34th N Lex (2003) ESC
  • Some Skunk Funk" (2006) BHM
  • Some Skunk Funk – with Michael Brecker (2005) Telarc
  • Box of Photographs (2005) – Johnny Rodgers & The Johnny Rodgers Band
  • Unprecedented Clarity – Pitch Pine Project with Randy Brecker (2007) Challenge Records[which?]
  • Randy in Brasil (2008) Summit Records/MAMA Records
  • Tribute to the Brecker Brothers (2008 JVC Victor
  • Jazz Suite Tykocin (2009)
  • The Jazz Ballad Song Book: Randy Brecker with the Danish Radio Big Band and The Danish National Chamber Orchestra (2011)
  • Night in Calisia (2012)
  • Brecker Brothers Band Reunion (2013)

As sideman

With Aerosmith

With Arkadia Jazz All Stars

  • Thank You, Joe! (Arkadia Jazz. 2000)

With Patti Austin

With Gato Barbieri

With George Benson

With Carla Bley

With Blood Sweat & Tears

With Ron Carter

With Frank Catalano

  • Pins 'N' Needles (Lakeside, 1997)
  • Live At The Green Mill (Delmark, 2000)

With Billy Cobham

With Mark Dimond & Frankie Dante

  • Beethoven's V (Cotique, 1975)

With Robin Eubanks


  • A New Kind of Blue – (2004)

With Jaroslav Jakubovic

  • Coincidence (VMM, 2009)

With Hubert Laws

With Yusef Lateef

With Arif Mardin

With Brother Jack McDuff

With Alphonse Mouzon

With Idris Muhammad

  • Could Heaven Ever Be Like This (Kudu, 1977)
  • Camby Bolongo (Kudu, 1977)

With Jaco Pastorius

  • Jaco Pastorius – (1976)
  • Invitation – (1983)

With Włodek Pawlik

  • Turtles (1995)

With Duke Pearson

With Lou Reed

With Todd Rundgren

With Don Sebesky

With Horace Silver

With Stanley Turrentine

With Miroslav Vitous

With Roseanna Vitroand Kenny Werner

With Jack Wilkins

With Charles Williams


  1. ^ Carr, Ian; Fairweather, Digby; Priestley, Brian (2004). The Rough Guide to Jazz. Rough Guides. pp. 105–. ISBN 9781843532569. Retrieved July 11, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Randy Brecker". Cheltenham High School. Retrieved February 11, 2014. 
  3. ^ Wood, David (April 25, 2012). "Alan Pasqua And Peter Erskine On IU Jazz And David Baker". Indiana Public Media. Retrieved January 29, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Brecker Brothers Band Reunion". Addeo Music International. Retrieved January 29, 2014. 
  5. ^ "THE BRECKER BROTHERS BAND REUNION with RANDY BRECKER, MIKE STERN, & More". Blue Note New York. Retrieved January 29, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Out of the Loop: Awards". Allmusic. Retrieved January 29, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Jazz". Włodek Pawlik's official website. Retrieved February 2, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Randy Brecker". Songkick. Retrieved January 29, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Soulbop Band Live: Bill Evans / Randy Brecker Soulbop Band". All About Jazz. Retrieved January 29, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Michael Brecker's Tour Schedule". Michael Brecker's official website. Retrieved January 29, 2014. 
  11. ^ DeLuke, R. J. (November 4, 2013). "Randy Brecker: A Fusion Legacy". All About Jazz. Retrieved January 29, 2014. 
  12. ^ a b "Randy Brecker". The Recording Academy. Retrieved January 29, 2014. 
  13. ^ Ratliff, Ben (January 14, 2007). "Michael Brecker Dies at 57; Prolific Jazz Saxophonist". The New York Times. Retrieved January 29, 2014. 
  14. ^ "Bill Evans / Randy Brecker: Soul Bop Band Live". All About Jazz. Retrieved January 29, 2014. 
  15. ^ "Sag Harbor American Music Festival Inaugural Concert And Fundraiser". Hamptons Online. Retrieved January 29, 2014. 
  16. ^ "Pawlik & Brecker's nostalgic journey". Polish Music Newsletter. November 2009. Retrieved January 29, 2013. 
  17. ^ "Exploring the Grammys' jazz field nominees". The Recording Academy. Retrieved January 29, 2014. 
  18. ^ "Grammy dla Polaka! Muzyczne Oscary także dla Daft Punk, Lorde, Led Zeppelin...". Gazeta Wyborcza (in Polish). January 27, 2014. Retrieved February 2, 2014. 
  19. ^ "Brecker Brothers Band Reunion". Moosicus Records. Retrieved January 29, 2014. 
  20. ^ "The Brecker Brothers band reunion with Randy Brecker, Mike Stern, Dave Weckl & more". Blue Note New York. Retrieved 29 January 2014. 

Further reading

External links

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