Fast forward to 2001, when Brecker released Hangin' in the City, featuring his sleazy, tongue-in-cheek alter ego (christened "Randroid" by saxophonist Gary Bartz). The music is unimpeachably hip with complex, jazzy arrangements and Brecker's flashy and facile playing on trumpet and flugelhorn. Some of Randroid's raunchy, slightly misogynist lyrics are an inside joke on the touring musician's lifestyle (check out the hilarious contract riders posted at www.randroid.com). This album probably sells well among Brecker's high school and college band-clinic attendees.
Brecker is a true fusion player: a hard-bop player of the rock generation. He played in the original incarnation of Blood, Sweat, & Tears. The Brecker Brothers albums (with saxophonist Michael) helped define '70s fusion. In the '80s, he appeared on Jaco Pastorius' now-classic Word of Mouth album, and the critically acclaimed In the Idiom and fusion-oriented Live at Sweet Basil's underscored his talent as an acoustic player and composer, respectively.
I caught a road-weary Brecker on his cell phone (was that a hotel elevator bell in the background?) to ask about his latest recording.
"34th 'n Lex is coming out in April on the German ESC label, distributed here by Rykodisc. It's jazz and funk, and has some old friends on it," Brecker says, referring to Dave Sanborn and his brother Michael.
Brecker plays at Carmen's on Saturday, February 15. "I'm bringing my wife, tenor saxophonist Aba Rovatti," he says. "We're sending some tunes ahead; it won't be just a jam."
Will Randroid be coming?
Guess we'll just have to wait and see. •