A very versatile acoustic and electric bassist capable of playing straight-ahead jazz, funk, and fusion, Brian Bromberg is also one of the few bassists to master the tapping technique made famous by Stanley Jordan, sometimes sounding like three bassists at once during his often-thunderous solos. Although he was a drummer at the age of 13, the following year Bromberg started classical lessons on bass. He developed quickly and by the time he was 19, he was part of Stan Getz's group. Bromberg has been a valuable sidemen with many bands since including those led by Horace Silver, Monty Alexander, Dizzy Gillespie, Richie Cole, Lee Ritenour, Dave Grusin, and Freddie Hubbard.
He recorded his first album as a leader in 1986 (A New Day for the Black Hawk label) and has since led sessions for Intima and Nova. Into the next century, Brian Bromberg remained one of the most underrated bassists in jazz. That would change. 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, but 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 of 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, 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. ~ Scott Yanow & Steve Leggett