Celebrate Me Home: The Holiday Sessions, Brian Bromberg

Brian Bromberg was born 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. While Brian was a junior in High School he was already taking many music classes at the University Of Arizona. At the U of A Brian played in the Lab Band, orchestra, and jazz combo’s. All that led him to test out of high school early and devote 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 while on the road in Tucson. 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.

Bromberg is among the proud few to have a solid foundation in traditional jazz yet enjoy success in smooth jazz. This explains the accessibility of the songs that comprise Full Circle. “The smooth jazz world helped me understand the power of reaching people and what that means beyond the myopic world of being a virtuoso. It’s helped me become a more melodic and storytelling improviser.”

Summing up the crafting of this album, Bromberg states, “Full Circle has been incredibly important to me - more as a human being than as an artist; a cathartic experience. It became something life changing and much bigger than me. I don’t know what the ‘statement’ is - and it’s not like I’m trying to make one - it’s just honest and real. There’s a lot of expediency and determination in my notes - very simple music that’s not intense yet has intensity. There’s so much passion even the mellow tunes are played with emotional power.”

“This CD is just a swinging, in your face traditional jazz CD with simple tunes that are easy to sing along with and remember, but have a foundation in hardcore “real” jazz.” Bromberg concludes. “I hope people enjoy this CD for it is and what it means to me vs. judging it for what it’s not.”

Bromberg's next release Thicker Than Water is about as polar opposite as "Full Circle" as you can get. Released in July 2018, Thicker Than Water went to #1 in the country on the Billboard Smooth Jazz charts and #1 on the Smooth Jazz Network charts! Brian's new CD is a high energy, funky, in your face project unlike anything Bromberg has ever done in his career. This is a CD that Bromberg has been wanting to make for years. This CD is all original music totally ensconced in memorable melodies, infectious grooves, and deep pocket. Live horn sections rounding out a truly fun and positive energy listening experience. Thicker Than Water features artists like: Najee, George Duke, Randy Brecker, Everette Harp, Paul Jackson Jr. Brian Simpson, Marion Meadows. Brandon Fields, and Gary Meek.

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, Please 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 more than a dozen top #10 and top #5 hits as well as five #1 songs for himself and other recording 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".

Brian Bromberg Celebrates Being Home – and Nowhere Else – for the holidays with New Album, Recorded in Quarantine – Celebrate Me Home: The Holiday Sessions.

The album Features an Eclectic Mix of Songs in a Wide Array of Styles, with an All-Star Cast Including Najee, Everette Harp, Maysa, Elan Trotman and Chris Walker.

That stylistic diversity is in keeping with the eclectic choice of material on the album, which includes many of the expected Yuletide classics (“The Christmas Song,” “Deck the Halls”) but also such pop hits as Donny Hathaway’s “This Christmas” and Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime,” José Feliciano’s “Feliz Navidad,” a smash hit that is rarely reprised, and a pair of heartfelt original compositions.

For all of the improbabilities facing its creation, Celebrate Me Home: The Holiday Sessions. ended up being a lively and deeply felt project of which Bromberg is deservedly proud. “The one thing that I hope people will hear on the record is honesty,” he concludes. “I really think you can hear that we’re all having fun and that my heart was in it, 100 percent.”

For a virtuoso jazz bassist and world-renowned producer, quarantined in his Southern California home during a global pandemic and contemplating an uncertain future, the holidays would seem to be the last thing on one’s mind. The chameleonic Brian Bromberg has never been one to follow the expected path, however. With live gigs cancelled and the opportunity for collaboration complicated by social distancing, Bromberg virtually assembled a stellar cohort of musicians to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year on Celebrate Me Home: The Holiday Sessions.

Celebrate Me Home: The Holiday Sessions takes its title from the Kenny Loggins classic, co-written by Bob James, which feels all the more poignant given our current circumstances. Gorgeously expressed by vocalist Chris Walker, the song achingly captures the yearning for a return to familiar surroundings and loved ones that many of us are feeling right now, regardless of the season.

Brian Bromberg: Kiesel B25 Electric Bass(1-3, 5, 9, 12); nylon string acoustic piccolo bass (1, 3, 5); Hollow body Piccolo Bass (2, 4, 6, 7-10, 12); Acoustic Bass (4, 7, 11); Upright Bass (6, 8, 10); Drums (11)

Tom Zink: Keyboards (1-3, 5, 9) Piano (4, 6-9, 10-12)

Everette Harp: Tenor Saxophone (1)

Tony Moore: Drums (1-3, 5, 7)

Ray Fuller: Rhythm Guitar (1-3, 5, 7)

Alex Acuña: (1, 5-7, 9-10, 12)

The Social Distancing Orchestra: Violins, Violas and Cellos (1, 3, 5, 7, 10)

Andrew Neu: Alto, Tenor, and Baritone Saxophones (2, 4, 6, 8, 11-12)

Michael Stever: Trumpet (2, 4, 6, 8, 11-12) Piccolo Trumpet (2)

Nick Lane: Trombone (2, 4, 6, 8, 11-12)

Maysa: Vocals (4)

Chris Walker: Vocals (4, 7)

Tom McCauley: Acoustic Rhythm Guitar (4)

Joel Taylor: Drums (6, 9-10, 12)

Kareem Thompson: Steel Pan Drums (6)

Gary Meek: Tenor Sax (8)

Ramon Stagnaro: Rhythm Guitar (10, 12)

Najee: Flute (12)

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Episode #251

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