Brian Bromberg believes that “there are no rules in music” which has allowed him to bring the art of bass playing to a new level where the bass moves beyond being simply a rhythm instrument and is introduced as a lead soloist vehicle.
Bromberg’s incredible virtuosity, technique and experimentation can be heard on his six contemporary instrumental albums where he’s joined by such jazz luminaries as Kirk Whalum, Lee Ritenour, Toots Theilemans, Ernie Watts, Jeff Lorber, Ivan Lins, Everette Harp and Kenny Rankin.
To refer to Brian Bromberg as just another bass player would be like calling a Rolls Royce just another car. Depending on the situation, Brian plays a variety of acoustic, electric and electronic (MIDI) basses including fretted, fretless, piccolo, upright and synth.
Brian grew up in Tucson, Arizona, in a family of musicians where both his dad and brother played drums. At thirteen, Brian began playing drums too, but the next year switched to bass and began his classical training on the instrument. “I always loved the feel, the spontaneous creativity and the energy of jazz.” As a teenager he was playing regularly with adults, so he left school (he earned his diploma through testing), began studying music at the local university, and performed with area jazz bands and symphonies. His first big break was an offer to play in Stan Getz’ band. Brian left home to tour the world with Stan on his 19th birthday. He also had to make the leap from acoustic upright to electric bass to get the gig.
In the early years, he was devoted to mainstream jazz. “I was very closed- minded with tunnel-vision. But I grew up and realized I didn’t have the right to judge anyone for the music they want to play. I came to understand that musical validity is totally subjective. That’s when I began to stretch my own music into contemporary jazz and began playing on movie soundtracks and with pop, rock and world music artists”.
“But I still love playing with straight-ahead jazz artists and I want to do more acoustic, mainstream jazz albums myself.”
In 1981, he designed his first custom electric bass. In 1993, his own bass (incorporating all of his design ideas from the past dozen years), the B-Quad 4, was released by PEAVEY ELECTRONICS CORPORATION . “It’s the most versatile commercial bass ever offered”, explains Brian. “It allows the bass player a variety of roles by changing strings.” The neck is made of graphite, which is light, but so strong and rigid it can withstand the strain of any type of strings or tuning. The bass also has two kinds of pickups -- one type for steel strings and one for nylon - so that it can be used as a traditional deep-bottom bass, a tenor, or a piccolo bass ideal for soloing.
Continuing with the success of the B-Quad 4 and 5 product line, Brian has separated from Peavey Electronics, and is currently designing new models of his bass line which will be announced in July, 1998 at the Summer Namm convention, and be available through THE BASS COMPANY, whose corporate office is based in Los Angeles, California. The company intends to announce 3 models -- a low end, mid range, and high end (similar to the design and functionality of the B-Quad series).
Bromberg has recorded with Dave Grusin, Stan Getz, Joe Farrell, Paul Horn, Richie Cole, James Moody, Tom Scott, Robben Ford, Sadao Watanabe, Michel Legrand, Nancy Wilson, Arturo Sandoval, Jeff Lorber, just to name a few. Brian also has played on several noteworthy film soundtracks including “The Fabulous Baker Boys”, “Havana”, (both with Dave Grusin), “Housesitter”, “The Exterminator”, “Absolute Beginners” and “Guilty by Suspicion”.
The bassist also has performed on stage with Freddie Hubbard, Barney Kessel, Eliane Elias, Billy Cobham, Toots Theilemans, Lionel Hampton, Larry Carlton, Randy Brecker, Herb Ellis, Bill Evans, Russ Freeman, Richard Elliot, Dave Grusin, Bobby Lyle, Teo Macero, Les McAnn, Bob Mintzer, Gerry Mulligan, Diane Schurr, Horace Silver, Lenny White, Dudley Moore, Michel Legrand, Lee Ritenour, Tom Scott, Sarah Vaughn, Tony Williams, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Kenny Rankin and many many more.
Brian’s first album, A NEW DAY, was released in 1986 but only saw limited release as the label went out of business shortly thereafter. Bromberg’s reputation as a phenomenal lead bassist began to spread with the release of his next two albums, BASSES LOADED (featuring Ernie Watts and Russ Freeman) and MAGIC RAIN (with guests like Ernie Watts, Brandon Fields, Jeff Lorber and Rob Mullins). The first week MAGIC RAIN was released, it was the #1 Most Added Album on Jazz Radio throughout the country.
Over the years on his recordings, Bromberg also has contributed keyboards, computer programming (especially drum and percussion parts) and synthesizer bass (which can sound like anything from strings to horns).
For his fourth album, BASSically SPEAKING (NOVA 9031), Bromberg moved to Nova Records. Containing some re-recorded material from his seldom-heard debut album as well as some new compositions, the record showed Bromberg stretching out even further with emotional soloing. The recording went TOP 5 on the NATIONAL AIRPLAY CHARTS and TOP 10 on the BILLBOARD SALES CHARTS.
After exploring the contemporary electric jazz scene for a number of years and five records, Bromberg recorded IT’s ABOUT TIME: The Acoustic Project (NOVA 9146) which showed a return to his mainstream roots. But, as would be expected from the experimenting virtuoso, it also contained some surprises as to what he could accomplish on an acoustic standup bass. He was joined by his regular band and special guests including his brother David Bromberg, Freddie Hubbard, Mike Garson, Ernie Watts and Mitchell Forman.
Brian’s sixth album released in 1993 (NOVA 9351) once again featured his arsenal of electric basses. The music ranges from beautiful ballads to funk and fusion. The album features “My Bass”, a personal, solo bass improvisation. “When I’m playing live on-stage or recording in the studio, I don’t work out my solos. I’ll never play any solo exactly the same way twice. I believe in always putting it on the line. That’s what brings new energy and new life to my music and keeps it fresh and fun” explains Brian. This self- titled gem reached the top of all the charts throughout the country.
With the release of his first solo record in 5 years, Brian Bromberg claims his rightful place among the world's elite bass players. The multitalented player, composer and producer has been acclaimed for his unique and versatile abilities. Few other bass players anywhere can play both electric and acoustic bass with such virtuosity.
There are NO GUITARS on this recording!! You wouldn't know if we didn't tell you! It's all Bromberg Bass! Check out the incredible rockin' bass on "Na Na Na Na Na Na" and "Joe Cool", the groove of "Hero" featuring Rick Braun, dedicated to Zebra artist Zachary Breaux and the Metheny-esque ``I Fell Asleep As A Child...And Woke Up A Man". Look for the first single "By The Fireplace" featuring Jeff Lorber, Everette Harp and Brian on Piccolo Bass.
Other guest's on this 10 track masterpiece include Rick Braun, Joe Sample and more! Zebra kicks off 1998 with "You Know That Feeling" It's gonna' be a great year!
“Stanley Clarke and Jaco Pastorius were great innovators and paved the way for guys like me to become bass soloists. In the last ten to fifteen years bass technology has dramatically improved which, along with experimentation with different strings and tunings, has really created a whole new world for bassists. I’m thrilled to be a part of it.
“When I solo, and especially when I play the piccolo bass which is generally tuned an octave higher than a standard bass, some people ask me why I don’t just play guitar. They don’t understand that I don’t want to play guitar -- I’m a bass player and I want to explore all the capabilities of bass playing. But I never forget the bottom line is music. When people listen to me, I hope their concentration isn’t only on what I’m doing with the basses. What I really want them to hear is good music.”