The Brecker Brothers

Out of the Loop

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On Out of the Loop, Randy and Michael Brecker stepped up to the plate with their second long-player of the '90s, 20 years after their first foray into the jazz-funk-fusion realm. The album is surprisingly strong, and any fears of a paint-by-numbers attempt to cash in on past glories are quickly dispelled with the opening "Slang," which is reminiscent of Amandla-era Miles. Here, as throughout the disc, Michael's sax solo burns with abandon, while brother Randy's trumpet glides across a tastefully smooth and melodic terrain. "African Skies" has a decidedly Yellowjackets feel, with Michael again turning in a remarkably energetic solo turn. The set-closing "And Then She Wept" features Randy's attractive fl├╝gelhorn, as does the Eliane Elias-produced "Secret Heart," where Michael's soprano sax and EWI share the spotlight. "Scrunch" is a funky piece of programmed hip-hop over which the brothers Brecker play a riff similar to those they and the Average White Band delivered in the mid-'70s. Both Randy and the late Michael Brecker went on to make names for themselves in the jazz world after fronting their brotherly band in the '70s, earning the respect of critics and jazz fans alike. With Out of the Loop, they made a solid musical statement in a contemporary format, one they helped create and in which they proved to be masters.

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