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Brian Bromberg : LaFaro Review

Brian Bromberg : LaFaro Review

Brian-Bromberg-sound-in-review-CDBrian Bromberg, whose career has spanned a remarkable journey from an in-demand session musician to a leader in his own right, is back with his latest album, LaFaro. On the album, Bromberg pays tribute to Scott LaFaro, a legend whose contributions have left an indelible mark on jazz music. These twelve songs delve into the nuances of Bromberg’s bass playing and the chemistry within his ensemble and offer a comprehensive album of the influence of LaFaro and the Bill Evans trio in which LaFaro performed.

From the outset, LaFaro is an exhibition of Bromberg’s virtuosity and deep respect for jazz tradition. The album starts with “Solar,” where Bromberg’s melody on the acoustic bass sets the stage for an energetic exchange with pianist Tom Zink and drummer Charles Ruggiero. This opening number is a strong statement, showcasing Bromberg’s fluid mastery over his instrument and setting a swinging tone that resonates throughout the album in its homage to LaFaro and Evans.

The trio’s rendition of “Waltz For Debby” and “Alice in Wonderland” highlights their seamless interaction, moving from a three-feel to a straight-eighth note feel, and showcasing Bromberg’s agile exploration of harmonic colors. The chemistry between the musicians is palpable, with each member contributing to a cohesive sound that honors the legacy of the Bill Evans Trio, in which LaFaro famously played.

On tracks like “Gloria’s Step” and “Blue and Green,” Bromberg and the trio capture the essence of LaFaro’s contributions to jazz – the counter-melodic style and virtuosity as a soloist. Bromberg’s solo in “Gloria’s Step” and his leadership on “Blue and Green” showcase his ability to convey emotion and complexity, while maintaining a conversation with his bandmates that feels intimate and expansive.

“Israel” and “Milestones” offer a more relaxed swing feel and an exploration into modal jazz, respectively. Here, the trio’s dynamic is further emphasized, showcasing how Bromberg’s walking bass lines and Ruggiero’s rhythmic precision complement Zink’s piano solos, creating a rich, multi-layered sound.

Perhaps the most poignant moments on the album are found in the introspective performances of “My Foolish Heart” and the unaccompanied “Danny Boy.” These tracks highlight Bromberg’s range and depth as a musician, showcasing his ability to convey profound emotion and harmonic and melodic colors through his instrument.

“Scotty’s Song,” the lone original on the album, is a blues-infused number that transitions into a mellow groove, serving as a fitting tribute to LaFaro, with Bromberg’s solo showcasing his technical control and lyrical depth. The album concludes with an up-tempo take on “What Is This Thing Called Love?” – a fitting end to a journey through jazz standards, where Bromberg’s solos and the ensemble’s interplay shine brightly.

LaFaro is an enjoyable tribute, an album that focuses on jazz bass playing and its role in a jazz trio setting. Bromberg’s virtuosity on the bass is matched by his profound respect for the music and its history; while Bromberg showcases his exceptional talent, he also reinforces his place in the lineage of great jazz bassists, continuing to pave the way for future generations.


Brian Bromberg: Website

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Brian Bromberg

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April 5, 2024


Be Sqaured Productions

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