CD Review: THE MANY FACES OF BRANDINO

CD Review: THE MANY FACES OF BRANDINO

May 25, 2016

I was at NAMM last January 2016, and I ran into bassist Chuck Rainey. Aside from his legendary status (which would have been enough to listen to any endorsement of music by his mere suggestion) he raved about a bass player named Kevin Charles Brandon, a.k.a. Brandino, and his impressive jazz CD. He highly recommended I listen to it. Naturally I was intrigued; seeing as how Brandino is also playing on a cut on my CD (My Man – “Time Traveler”) with jazz notable Bobby Lyle. I had known Brandino was a talented bassist, but his broad range showed even more on his CD and wonderful body of music The Many Faces of Brandino.

I had never seen Brandino perform live so I was curious to see his show. I went to Seven Grand Whiskey Bar in Downtown Los Angeles, and thoroughly enjoyed myself. After the show, I really wanted to listen to Brandino’s CD. I was delighted and inspired by the music on it; and I was proud to learn the vast skill set this diverse musician/composer/arranger possessed.

Brandino’s background:

My Father took me to a Louis Armstrong concert when I was four years old.  I took piano lessons with my sister at five and saxophone lessons with my brother at seven. When I was nine, my family had a band and they needed a bass player, so I got elected for the job.

 

The Many Faces of Brandino has 10 tracks, which show a level of musicianship and composition that I’ve really come to appreciate. Since Brandino is a bass player, it’s no surprise that it’s funky and “fat.” Songs such as “Actual Proof” (just an example) are arranged by Brandino with lush strings and sassy horns. I must admit that I do have a favorite cut, “The Beginning of the End.” This track travels, and expresses a hint of melancholy jazz that is reminiscent of Dexter Gordon and Sonny Rollins. “Free Jazz” sucked me in with its driving bass lines and clever drumming. The piano is tasteful and impressive. These cats are “jazzers!” There’s no mistaking the authenticity of its improvisation. I really felt like I was sitting in a smoke-filled brick-walled beatnik lounge back in the 50s. I loved the saxophone’s performance and melodies on this one. I should also mention, “Where Is the World Going” . . . such fond memories of the Village Vanguard when listening.

I wanted to do an album that would cover the genre of music that I love to play, and have recorded in my career. I rearrange some of the songs from a bass player/composer/producer’s point of view.”—Brandino

 

Another beautiful track is “Bolero” with its likeable melody and contemporary smooth jazz feel. The nylon guitar adds a real Spanish flair to this track. And speaking of guitars, Brandino surprised me with the guitar on the song he dedicated to Jimi Hendrix called “Rock It.” Brandino combines contemporary jazz with a “retro” rock influence that also emcompasses elements of progressive rock.

“Summertime” is a unique arrangement that is interesting and unpredictable; and one of the few songs that fades out at the end. I asked Brandino which song he felt was his single, and he responded, “Even though I love the song ‘Summertime,’ which my mother sang to me as a baby . . . people tell me that ‘Bolero’ has the hook.”

“Tell Me a Bedtime Story” is a smooth jazz, commercial track with memorable chord progressions. “Tell Me a Bedtime Story” is one of the longer songs on the album, but you don’t tire of this track at all. This song is very moving.

The Many Faces of Brandino is a great CD for jazz lovers everywhere. A common thread of non-indulgence, slick, yet sensitive arrangements, tight performances, and memorable melodies makes this a must-buy; as with all of the tracks on this CD, nothing is cookie-cutter; nothing is safe. And most of all, you will love the sound of Brandino’s bass!

 

All songs written by Brandino, except for “Summertime” by George Gershwin; “Actual Proof,” “Tell Me a Bedtime Story” by Herbie Hancock; and “Brandino’s Funk” by Brandino and Jimi Hendrix. Musicians who played on the CD are as follows: Brandino (bass); Andy Langham (piano); Oscar Seaton (drums); Keith Fiddemont, Rodney Taylor, Kamasi Washington (saxophones); Michael O’Neil and Michael Thompson on “Rock It” (guitar).

 

You can purchase The Many Faces of Brandino at http://www.brandinosoundbox.com/album-the-many-faces-of-brandino- and like him on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brandinosoundbox

Brandino and Friends DVD and Brandino’s Songbook and Melodies will be released later this year at www.brandinosoundbox.com  

Written by Kaylene Peoples

Kaylene Peoples is the Editor in Chief and founder of Agenda magazine. A former runway model (Paris, Milan, LA) and an accomplished musician and filmmaker (award-winning feature film director; award-winning music producer; and recording artist), her palette for the arts, fashion, and anything creative is diverse. As a prolific, published journalist, she loves to write! Kaylene has interviewed hundreds of designers in her fashion journalism career, reviewed most mediums of entertainment; ranging from music to the performing arts; not excluding social commentary.

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Review on "The Many Faces of Brandino " by Chris Jisi BP magazine

Bass Player Magazine by Chris Jisi : Quote

The Many Faces Of Brandino (N'House )

The versatile L.A. mainstay bassist/ producer,

whose recent credits range from Will.I.AM to

Nancy Wilson , delivers a sturdy sophomore

studio disc spotlighting skills on upright and

electric bass, and as a composer/arranger.

Among the step-out tracks are acoustic bass-

driven latin jazzer " Beginning of the End ",

funk-rocker " Rock It " ( layering 5-,6-,7-string bass)

and an energetic reading of Herbie Hancock's

"Tell Me a Bedtime Story ". Kamasi Washington

adds supple sax on " Free Jazz" . - CHRIS JISI

REVIEW ON " THE MANY FACES OF BRANDINO by Mike Smith a NYC percussionist

This is a review of a Jazz Group I went to see last night at Mambo's Cafe in Glendale. I was not asked or paid to do this by anyone; in fact Brandino won't know until he sees this.

I am doing it because when u c and hear music being performed at a certain level that is not seen very often, especially Jazz, which is one of the most complex styles to play; it deserves attention & praise.

First things first...The Band: Kevin Brandon "Brandino"-Bass/Leader

Oscar Seaton-Drums, Andy Langham-Keys, Keith Fiddmont-Saxes.

Now, most people are familiar with the song 'Summertime'...well I have never heard it played the way I did last night! And, I have played this song hundreds of times. It was Jazzy, Groovy, some parts were driving yet well controlled and a nice moderate tempo. The parallel/harmonic lines between the Sax & Keys, while the bass & drums hold down the groove...just spectacular. The "solos"...well u gotta go & c for yourself, u will not b disappointed.

'The Beginning Of The End'...Kevin begins with the bass line & if u r not paying attention, the opening of this song might throw u & it will take several seconds or so to hear the time.

I won't give everything away by commented on the other songs, u will have to witness for yourself & as I've stated already...u won't b disappointed.

Anyone who has seen Oscar play...knows...the man is in a zone! It's almost as if he's in this invisible bubble that has holes in it where he can hear the music & add his unique style of playing to support the song. He looks up, down, sideways within his bubble & its as if he's getting his inspiration & direct line of communication from God himself. Always supporting the music, yet naturally shining.

Kevin...what can I say...anyone who has seen him knows just how gifted/talented & humorous this man is. We go back a long way. 

I remember us working together at Marla's Memory Lane Club owned by Marla Gibbs, actress who was on TV Sitcom The Jefferson's.

We were working with Bernard Ighner who wrote & sang 'Everything Must Change'. Kevin was playing Electric Bass, sitting in a chair. He would lean so far to the left & right, I just knew one night he was gonna fall. I contemplated getting gymnastic mats to place on either side of him on the floor; but he never fell! Bernard just loved Kevin's feel too.

I included this because when Kevin plays...his body, heart & soul goes into the music, whether it's his own or someone else's. U can always rely on Kevin to bring it. He's walkin' talkin' notes of music.

Andy & Keith just bring up the rear in this band...fine musicians. Great band, beautiful array of songs & arrangements.

Collectively, this is a must see group...go see BRANDINO!

Mike Smith a NYC percussionist wrote this !! 

Review on " The Many Faces of Brandino CD" by Bill Helm Radio DJ from 89.1 KHOL located in Jackson, WY

Not sure what you mean by a quote on the CD, but “it just plain grooves” 

(I can’t think of a better compliment to a bassist.)

“The Many Faces of Brandino” CD knocked me out. As a fellow bassist, I find the groove infectious, the arrangements stimulating, and your tone worthy of envy.... Summertime is one of my favorite tunes and the arrangement is so cool, the tempo is just right and the band cooks, yeah, more, I want more.

Bill Helm Radio DJ from 89.1 KHOL located in Jackson, WY