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Brian Bromberg: Full Circle

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How’s this for a back story: After suffering a career-halting spine injury, bassist Brian Bromberg has released Full Circle, his first CD in four years and the only one to feature him collaborating, via some cleverly reconfigured and refurbished acetates, with his late father, drummer Howard Bromberg. Indeed, the album’s opening and closing tracks are dusted-off, Dixieland-flavored family affairs-sentimental journeys, yes, but delightfully revitalized ones.

On the remaining tracks, though his gift for melody is frequently on display, Bromberg doesn’t always sound quite like himself. He often plays an acoustic piccolo bass pitched in the guitar register-an instrument which, in Bromberg’s hands, sometimes fluidly evokes the likes of Stanley Jordan and George Benson. Like those artists, Bromberg aims to please listeners open to both smooth and mainstream influences. Triggering shifts from intimate trio performances to expansive takes on Afro-Cuban jazz and New Orleans funk, his writing helps keep things interesting, and the same goes for the Michael Jackson cover (“Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough”), which sounds as if it were designed to make Benson’s day.

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