BRIAN BROMBERG: The Magic of Moonlight (Artistry/Mack Avenue).

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  • BRIAN BROMBERG: The Magic of Moonlight (Artistry/Mack Avenue).

Brian Bromberg is a celebrated American jazz bassist. A leading light in the country’s thriving smooth jazz scene, he started his career working with first Bill Evans and then Stan Getz and since then has worked with a plethora of “names” across genres. As a leader, Brian has recorded over 20 albums and he’s   just released his latest effort – ‘The Magic Of The Moonlight’.

The album is named for the set’s opening track and given Brian’s C V you won’t be surprised to learn that the  cut ticks all the right boxes demanded by the smooth jazz fraternity. It’s melodic, slick and polished and rides a soulful groove. Brian says he chose the track as the album title because, “There’s a little bit of mystique in the moonlight. This album has some mysterious vibes and spirituality along with the feel-good, positive energy, so the name just seemed to fit.” So, now we know.

The ‘Magic Of The Moonlight’ track features some top smooth jazz players, notably Everette Harp whose fluid tenor sax lines add to the “magic” of the title. Harp also guests on the breezy ‘Last Day Of Summer’, and the gentle meander that is ‘The Third Child’ which, by the way, is dedicated Bromberg’s sister. Amongst the other guests is sax man Gary Meek (maybe best known for his work with Airto Moreira and Flora Purim) whose sinuous sax lines enhance ‘Just Another Beautiful Day’. Then there’s violinist Charlie Bisharat and sitar guitarist Grant Geissman who add just the right amount of exotica to ‘The Orient Express’. No murder here, thankfully, but on the short intro Bromberg delivers a funky bass masterclass, while Lin Rountree’s muted trumpet adds a measure of delight to the funky ‘So, You Think You’re All That?’

Interestingly, the leader’s nephew, producer/composer Zach Bromberg is on the disc too. He handles the keyboard programming on ‘A New Dawn’ and ‘Bedtime Story’ – both offer chill out moments and are quite haunting, even mystical which brings us back to how Brian explained the album’s raison d’etre. ‘The Pink Moment’ adds to the mystical element – sonically describing the so-called “Magic Hour” when the sunset delivers a multi-hued extravaganza on the Topatopa Mountains near the bassist’s home outside Ojai, California. Then there’s the spiritual optimism of ‘In the Hands of God’ but the most poignant cut is ‘Nico’s Groove’. The tune was written for the smooth jazz guitarist Nick Colionne, who passed away on New Year’s Day, 2022 at the age of just 55. Colionne had worked with Bromberg on numerous occasions and Brian has always been generous in his support  and praise for his  colleagues.

Brian Bromberg’s ‘Magic Of The Moonlight’ is out now.

(BB) 3/5