East Hampton resident, veteran trumpeter, flugelhorn player, and composer Randy Brecker, took home his seventh Grammy on January 26 at the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards. He won in the category of Best Improvised Jazz Solo for a song titled “Sozinho,” a word meaning “alone” in Portuguese. But Brecker is hardly alone in his recognition as an artist.
“It’s always a thrill to, first of all, get nominated, that’s almost a bigger thrill because you know at least people have heard it, and to win, it’s just a very warm feeling,” said Brecker, one of the founding members of Blood, Sweat, & Tears. He finds it’s fulfilling “that people who are your peers appreciate what you do, because sometimes we think we exist in a vacuum. These days, it’s harder and harder to get records made and get them out there. It’s a streaming world now and there are so many formats. People don’t have CD players. So, it’s nice to get any kind of recognition.”
The winning track is from his album “Rocks” and features Randy Brecker & NDR Big Band — The Hamburg Radio Jazz Orchestra with David Sanborn, Ada Rovatti, and Wolfgang Haffner. Though Brecker wasn’t there in person to collect his Grammy, he sees it as an almost lucky token when he doesn’t show up.
“I went to the Grammys a couple of times when I was nominated and never won. So that’s why I stayed home this year. I thought, ‘Well maybe if I stay home, I’ll get it,’” said Brecker.
And get it he did. Originally from Philadelphia, Brecker’s love for music started at an early age. With his father playing jazz piano, it almost seemed inevitable that the jazz music that filled his childhood home would also fill his home as an adult. In 1989, Brecker moved to East Hampton with his wife and kids, and jazz seemed to take up residence as well. With his wife, Ada Rovatti, playing saxophone, his sister, Emily, playing the harp, and his daughter, Amanda, a successful singer/songwriter, inspiration seems abundant in this family tree.
“I’m constantly inspired. We have to be inspired. I listen to music every day,” said Brecker, although he said he doesn’t go out to see live music as much as he should.
He says jazz musicians are his mentors, and that the music and photos he collects and videos he watches of them inspire him.
“It’s a lot of fun but it’s also serious art, so we have to spend a lot of time working on our instruments, practicing every day and being inspired by other musicians,” Brecker added.
He plays locally occasionally, he said. “When I first moved out here, I was busy and I would play at the Jam Session,” at what is now Ed’s Lobster Bar in Sag Harbor. “We have a band. My wife is a saxophonist. I had a band for years with my late brother who passed away sadly 13 years ago called the Brecker Brothers, and occasionally we put that back together, like ‘get the old band back together’ like in ‘The Blues Brothers’ movie, and I think we’re playing the Sag Harbor American Music Festival in September this year.”
To learn more about Brecker and his music, visit www.randybrecker.com.