by: The Brecker Brothers

The epitome of cool, the Brecker Brothers were one of best-selling jazz fusion outfits of the mid-'70s to the early '80s. Randy Brecker (trumpet/fl├╝gelhorn) and Michael Brecker (tenor sax) were ubiquitous session players and also members of the New York band Dreams. By the mid-'70s, they started recording under their own name. Their subsequent albums, The Brecker Brothers, Don't Stop the Music, and the live Heavy Metal Be-Bop all find the group doing challenging melodies in a genre that often played it too stupid. Detente finds them during a time when jazz playing was starting to get more lucrative. Keyboardist and producer George Duke was behind the boards for Detente. Although the Brecker Brothers and Duke are probably mainstays in any jazz fusion collection, their styles aren't analogous. Some of the tracks here clearly prove that point. "You Ga (Ta Give It)" and "Not Tonight" both come off as a little too radio-friendly. Not surprisingly, the best cuts here have both the classic intelligent Brecker Brothers sound as well as George Duke's production prowess. The sophisticated and funky "Tee'd Off" gets the Brecker Brothers on more familiar terrain and features a sinewy guitar solo from the underrated Hiram Bullock. The highly charged "Squish" and "Baffled" both display Randy Brecker's singular arranging skills. "Dream Theme," arranged by Michael Brecker, is the album's best song, reflective yet not melancholy, with his saxophone felt and flawless throughout. The last track, "I Don't Know Either," has solos from both of the Brecker Brothers, and displays the level of skill that many jazz outfits simply didn't possess. Detente features work from a litany of jazz players, including Neil Jason and Steve Jordan in addition to Duke. Despite a few lukewarm tracks, Detente is well worth picking up. ~ Jason Elias

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