A very versatile acoustic and electric bassist capable of playing straight-ahead jazz, funk, and fusion, Brian Bromberg has built a respected career playing with a bevy of luminaries and issuing his own highly regarded albums. Influenced by the virtuosic finger-tapping style of Stanley Jordan, Bromberg sometimes sounds like three bassists at once during his often thunderous solos. It's a talent that found him a part of Stan Getz's group at age 19. Since then, he has been a valuable sidemen with artists like Dave Grusin, Billy Cobham, Michael Bublé, and others. He recorded his first albums as a leader in the '80s with dates like 1988's Basses Loaded with Ernie Watts, and has since balanced session work with recording his own varied dates, such as 1991's It's About Time: The Acoustic Project, 2005's Metal, and 2010's Bromberg Plays Hendrix.
Born in 1960 in Tucson, Arizona, Bromberg grew up in a musical family. The son of a drummer, he initially started out on percussion, but quickly turned his attention to the bass. By the time he left high school he was already an impressive performer, and became an in-demand live musician, playing gigs throughout the week. In 1979, he caught the attention of bassist Marc Johnson, who later connected the young bassist with saxophonist Stan Getz. Bromberg toured with Getz for roughly a year before joining pianist Bob Ravenscroft and then launching his own career. Bromberg's initial albums as a leader were smooth jazz affairs, including 1986's A New Day, 1988's Basses Loaded, and 1989's Magic Rain.
However, he switched gears for 1991's It's About Time: The Acoustic Project, a more mainstream acoustic jazz record. The next release, though, 1993's self-titled Brian Bromberg, saw him return again to the smooth jazz feel of his earlier albums. Signing with Zebra Records, Bromberg released 1998's You Know That Feeling, which featured Rick Braun, Joe Sample, Jeff Lorber, Everette Harp, and other notables from the smooth jazz genre.
Bromberg next went back to straight jazz for 2002's Wood, followed by a tribute to bassist Jaco Pastorius -- simply titled Jaco -- a short time later in 2003. A sequel to Wood, Wood II, appeared in 2005, and Bromberg had clearly moved out of the box of his smooth jazz phase, particularly with the rapid-fire, amazing bass solos that made up Metal, which appeared later in 2005. He also became a highly sought-after record producer, with several charting projects in his résumé.
Continually stretching himself on bass, Bromberg moved farther outside the box with 2009's It Is What It Is. The following year, he paid tribute to guitar legend Jimi Hendrix with Bromberg Plays Hendrix. He then gathered an all-star cast of musicians, including Alex Acuña, Randy Brecker, George Duke, and Béla Fleck for 2012's Compared to That.
Taking time out from his solo work, Bromberg appeared on albums by Till Brönner, Andrea Bocelli, Andreas Varady, and others. In 2016, he returned with Full Circle, which included guest appearances from Arturo Sandoval, Kirk Whalum, and others. Thicker Than Water arrived in 2018 and featured guest spots by Najee, George Duke, Randy Brecker, and more. ~ Scott Yanow & Steve Leggett