Q (12/94, p.128) - 4 Stars - Excellent - "...OUT OF THE LOOP is quite a departure from the brothers' recent albums. No studio layering, much less frenetic, none of the blow-till-you-drop breathlessness; the emphasis here is firmly on harmony and lyricism..."
Personnel: Michael Brecker (soprano & tenor saxophones, Akai EWI); Randy Brecker (trumpet, flugelhorn); Eliane Elias (vocals, keyboards); Armand Sabal-Lecco (vocals, acoustic piccolo bass, bass); George Whitty (piano, keyboards, Hammond bass, programming); Robbie Kilgore (keyboards, guitar, programming); Maz Kessler (keyboards, programming); Dean Brown, Larry Saltzman (guitar); James Genus (acoustic & electric basses); Steve Jordan, Shawn Pelton, Rodney Holmes (drums); Steve Thornton (percussion); Chris Botti, Andy Snitzer (programming); Mark Ledford (background vocals).
Producers include: George Whitty, Chris Botti, Andy Snitzer, Maz Kessler, Robbie Kilgore.
Recorded at Skyline Studios, New York, New York.
OUT OF THE LOOP won the 1995 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Jazz Performance, and "African Skies" won the Grammy for Best Instrumental Composition. "African Skies" was also nominated for Best Jazz Instrumental Solo.
With OUT OF THE LOOP, the Brecker Brothers once again affirm their spot at the front of modern jazz. Besides presenting the expected mixed plate of jazz and funk, with this album the Brothers definitively prove that hip hop and swing are of the same groove.
The Breckers' trademarks abound. Solid composition, shiny production and superb talent qualify OUT OF THE LOOP as vintage Breckers with performances that rise to the strength of the arrangements. Their characteristic rhythmic twists and harmonic turns are held in check by a powerful yet sensitive rhythm section. Bassist James Genus links burning percussion and drums to the Brother's pure melodic expression and colorful harmonic invention.
What jumps up from OUT OF THE LOOP is its succesful incorporation of hip hop sounds into jazz. Amidst today's deluge of hip hop artists appropriating the token jazz riff, it's inspiring to hear the Brecker Brothers show how it's done on tracks like "Scrunge" and "When It Was."
In a world of jazz purists, easy listening, and confused genres, The Brecker Brothers have thankfully spun a loop of their own.
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