FULL CIRCLE - Reviews

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Midwest Record Entertainment:
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Gary Brumburgh - Full Circle Review

(Review by Chris Spector)

February 26, 2022

GARY BRUMBURGH/Full Circle:  A jazz vocalist with an affinity for Broadway picks up the Mark Murphy mantle and wears it nicely.  Wisely picking tunes that haven’t worn out their welcome and mixing them with tunes that have but have also been mostly forgotten, this is one of those tour de forces that remind you that it’s new if it’s new to you.  This is a fine tribute by someone that really has Broadway in their heart.

(Café Pacific)

Musicians: Gary Brumburgh – vocals; Jamieson Trotter – piano; Gabe Davis – bass; Christian Euman – drums; Larry Koonse – guitar; Danny Janklow – saxes; Scott Whitfield – trombone; Ross Garen – harmonica; Léo Costa – percussion.

Tracklist: 1. Everybody’s Gotta Be Somewhere. 2. Celebration. 3. Why Should I Wake Up. 4. The Surrey With The Fringe On Top. 5. Happy Talk. 6. Soon It’s Gonna Rain. 7. Sorry-Grateful. 8. You’ve Got To Be Taught. 9. Love I Hear. 10. I’m Glad To See You’ve Got What You Want. 11. Far From The Home I Love. Bonus Track: 12. Celebration (extended version).

Arrangements by Jamieson Trotter.

Jersey Jazz: CD Review

 

Jersey Jazz:  CD Review
Gary Brumburgh - Full Circle Review

(Review by Joe Lang)

March 22, 2022

Having spent over two decades acting and performing in musical theater, vocalist GARY BRUMBURGH eventually turned his attention to jazz, leading him to record his first album Up Jumped Spring with support from outstanding Los Angeles-based jazzers.  Unfortunately, his career was interrupted for several years by serious health issues.  On Full Circle (Café Pacific Records) Brumburgh combines his jazz side with a program of Broadway songs from shows in which he performed during the earlier part of his career.  He is accompanied by pianist/arranger Jamieson Trotter, bassist Gabe Davis and drummer Christian Euman, with occasional contributions from Larry Koonse on guitar, Danny Janklow on saxes, Scott Whitfield on trombone, Ross Garren on harmonica and Léo Costa on percussion.  The shows represented are City of Angels (“Ev’rybody’s Gotta Be Somewhere”), Celebration (“Celebration” and “I’m Glad to See You’ve Got What You Want”), Cabaret (“Why Should I Wake Up”), Oklahoma (The Surrey with the Fringe on Top”), South Pacific (“Happy Talk” and “You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught”) The Fantasticks (“Soon It’s Gonna Rain”), Company (“Sorry-Grateful”), A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (“Love, I Hear”) and Fiddler on the Roof  (“Far From the Home I Love”).  Brumburgh finds a perfect balance between his jazz and Broadway sides to give us an album that is consistently pleasing.  (www.garybrumburgh.com)

The JW Vibe: CD Review

Gary Brumburgh - Full Circle Review

(Review by Jonathan Widran)

March 24, 2022

When veteran jazz vocalist Gary Brumburgh released his delightfully graceful and swinging album Moonlight in 2018, his overriding story was his long-awaited and triumphant return to recording after his two bouts of head-and-neck cancer.   With those dark challenges blistfully now far behind him, the multi-talented performer is in the mood to celebrate on his glorious, alternately hard and subtly swinging, scat-filled new collection, Full Circle, to -- quite literally, as he includes long and short version of the rollicking "Celebration," from the slightly obscure 1969 musical of the same name.

 

Produced by the always muscially, intuitive Barbara Brighton and featuring some the same L.A. stalwarts that gave Moonlights its cool blend of pep and profoundness (pianist Jamieson Trotter, bassist Gabe Davis, guitarist Larry Koonse), the collection pays homage not only to a unique array of Broadway gems (some well-known, some deliciously under the radar), but meaningful ones that created key moments in Brumburgh's free-wheeling onstage history. 

 

It's definitely a joyful experiencing sourcing this unique array of tunes, ranging from his final show City of Angels ("Everybody's Gotta Be Somewhere"), Cabaret ("Why Should I Wake Up") and South Pacific ("Happy Talk") to Fiddler on the Roof ("Far From the Home I Love"), and two Sondheim flights of fancy ("Sorry-Grateful," "Love, I Hear").

Yet the true pleasure of the Full Circle experience is the intimate sense of connection Brumburgh cultivates as he brings the listener into his autobiographical world -- and the moods he creates easing from gentle ballads to his frolicsome, fast-paced phrasings and wild scat adventures on the more boisterous arrangements.

 

Then we have the Beatles Day Tripper with a bass playing over strong piano chords; Wichita Lineman (done as a ballad with a flowing rich piano and clanky bass); Sting’s Heavy Cloud No Rain  (a song of foreboding, a rather jazz-rock version); and Just A Little Lovin’ (Early In The Mornin’) which includes extra lyrics from our singer.

 

Definitely a CD worth hearing. It was issued on June 1, 2018, on Café Pacific Records. See www.garybrumburgh.com

Lemon Wire: CD Review

Gary Brumburgh - Full Circle Review

(Review by Dodie Miller-Gould)

March 25, 2022

Vocalist Gary Brumburgh comes Full Circle on latest release.

 

On his third release as a band leader, vocalist Gary Brumburgh revisits Broadway hits. His approach is not one of pure nostalgia. Brumburgh has revisioned the works and applied his gentle, energetic touches to give beloved songs added verve and swing. “Full Circle” is set for release March 25, 2022.

It seems Brumburgh’s first love was musical theater. Therefore, it was no surprise that after an unfulfilling stint as a teacher, after having earned a degree in Elementary Education, Brumburgh set off in search of the thing he had loved since he was 14 – – musicals. He scored a role in a production of “Oklahoma!” and a new passion was found. After three years of teaching, Brumburgh returned to his alma mater, Florida State University and earned a second bachelor degree, this time in fine arts.

Brumburgh moved to Los Angeles in 1978 to pursue an acting career. He found work in plays, commercials, movies, and television. Eventually, Brumburgh found himself singing back-up in one of the MGM specials of Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme. His work led to him getting a role in “City of Angels.”

“City of Angels” introduced Brumburgh to jazz. In 2003, he left musicals for jazz. He found new inspiration in the music of Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, and Mel Torme. That passion for jazz led to Brumburgh becoming a performer, a vocalist, in his own right. In 2008, Brumburgh released his first album, “Up Jumped Spring.” Around the same time, the singer was diagnosed with head and neck cancer. The malady struck twice before going into remission in 2016. Two years later, Brumburgh released “Moonlight” his second album as a leader.

In some ways, “Full Circle” describes Brumbrugh. Here, he returns to the musical theater tunes that were once his passion and imbues them with his version of verve-packed, swinging energy. Each song is made special by Brumburgh’s interpretations, and the generous way he allows soloists have room to really stretch out and bring songs into their full expression.

All of the songs are recommended. Brumburgh’s own story is a lesson in triumphing over adversity. The passion he gives to his music makes audiences lean forward, engaged and pleasantly surprised by the songs they perhaps thought they knew.

Of particular interest are “Celebration” and “Ev’rybody’s Gotta Be Somewhere.” Brumburgh’s smooth vocals are tinged with a sense of story that makes the songs personal. Audiences will likely find Brumburgh’s sound and persona welcoming, and his interpretation interesting.

“Full Circle” will be released from Cafe Pacific Records and will be available everywhere records are sold.

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Simply Jazz Talk (UK): CD Review

Gary Brumburgh - Full Circle Review

(Review by Simon Defty)

March 22, 2022

 

On Full Circle, vocalist Gary Brumburgh revisits his early career as a musical theater artist with fresh jazz interpretations of songs from iconic shows like Cabaret, Company, Fiddler on the Roof, Oklahoma! and others. This is Brumburgh’s third album as a leader and follows Moonlight (2018) and Up Jumped Spring (2008). Brumburgh performed in musical theatre for close to two decades.

The album opens with ‘Everybody’s Gotta Be Somewhere’ is from Coleman’s City of Angels. The lyrics are originally about a detective in search of a woman who may be involved in a murder. In Brumburgh’s version, the song takes on a different meaning in which he is looking for a woman that he has lost track of. This is a brisk, well-delivered opening tune that sets the tone of the album nicely.  The song ‘Celebration’ is from a lesser-known show of the same name.

 

Composed by Harvey Schmidt with lyrics by Tom Jones, Trotter’s arrangement gives the song a bluesy swing feel, with Brumburgh giving the song a “live” feel by adding the musicians as audience members with handclaps and a shout chorus. Trotter’s piano lines are good, as is the guitar work of Larry Koonse, it is also clear that we are listening to a musical theatre singer’s interpretation of jazz and I am not being derogatory when I say that.

Originally a ballad but given a bossa nova spin with a guitar solo by Koonse, ‘Why Should I Wake Up’ from Cabaret was composed by John Kander with lyrics by Fred Ebb. This track sounds dated to me and is not as strong in delivery as the opening number. Rodgers and Hammerstein’s ‘The Surrey with the Fringe on Top’ is from Oklahoma! – the show that triggered Brumburgh’s professional career in musical theatre. Usually sung at a livelier tempo, Brumburgh approaches the tune instead as a soulful ballad and, for me, this works well. Scott Whitfield plays some delightfully sonorous trombone lines that complement the vocals very nicely.

‘Happy Talk’, from South Pacific, is another Rodgers and Hammerstein composition. The song opens with a bebop conversation between Janklow’s sax and Trotter’s piano and features a high-speed scat and vocalese by Brumburgh. I consider this number to be the standout track of the album and congratulations must go to Jamieson Trotter for his arrangement of this very well-known tune.

‘Soon It’s Gonna Rain’ is a ballad from The Fantasticks by Harvey Schmidt and Tom Jones – not a show I know. Trotter gives the arrangement a cool Latin feel that features Léo Costa’s percussion accompaniment. As a Latinesque number this works better than ‘Why Should I Wake Up’, in part this is down to the Latin percussion but also because of the stronger melodic line played by pianist Jamieson Trotter. ‘Sorry – Grateful’ from Company, with lyrics by Stephen Sondheim features Danny Janklow on sax and what a delightful sound he produces. Credit also needs to go to bass player Gabe Davis, whose resonant solo will please any bass enthusiast, and drummer Christian Euman whose playing was crisp, supportive but never dominated.

Another song from South Pacific, ‘You’ve Got To Be Carefully Taught’ opens with the trombone of Scott Whitfield, who trades conversational lines with Gary Brumburgh throughout and I really liked the way this tune played through – the piano/drum section is also very good. ‘Love I Hear’, by Sondheim from A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Forum, is sung by a young ingenue in the show. Brumburgh approaches the song as an adult reminiscing about his youth. The lyrics are great, and put across very well, and it is good to hear the guitar of Larry Koonse given room to stretch out. ‘I’m Glad to See You’ve Got What You Want’, also from Celebration, is a gentle swing tune about a girl and boy breaking up. In terms of tempo, it is not dissimilar to the previous track, but that “gentle swing” gives the tune an added lift. The piano playing from Trotter here is very good and has a mainstream classic jazz feel to it – something I very much enjoyed.

‘Far From the Home I Love’ is a tender ballad from Fiddler on the Roof composed by Jerry Bock with lyrics by Sheldon Harnick. The emotional aspect of this tune is provided by the poignant playing by Ross Garen on harmonica. This tune swoops and sores with ease and feels relaxed with wonderful phrasing from vocalist Gary Brumburgh. The album closes with an extended version of ‘Celebration’, which allows the soloists to stretch out and the tune feels all the better for being given the extra time for playing (I do like the “live” feel to this track, which feels more natural than it does on track two).

I enjoyed this album! I like the song choices, the arrangements, and the playing. Gary Brumburgh has a real feel for the lyrics he gives voice to and that, in part, is down to his musical theatre background where living and investing in a part is a requisite for a well-received performance. Full Circle is set for release on March 25, 2022 on Café Pacific Records.

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Contemporary Fusion: CD Review

Gary Brumburgh - Full Circle Review

(Review by Dick Metcalf)

March 30, 2022

Ultimate cool hipster jazz Gary Brumburgh – FULL CIRCLE: 

 

If you’re looking for “unique” in jazz vocal work, you’ll just HAVE to have Gary’s new CD; he’s the ultimate cool hipster jazz vocalist… to get a sample of his total vocal talent, check out this video first…

…Gary has many more videos and performances on his YouTube channel, so be sure and SUBSCRIBE while you’re there!

 

When you’re looking for toe-tappin’, finger-snappin’ vocal jazz, you won’t be able to do without Gary’s performance of Richard Rodgers’ “Happy Talk”… hip jazz DJ’s around the globe will be spinnin’ this song often on their playlists!

 

Gary’s arranger and pianist Jamieson Trotter created one of the most unique arrangements of “The Surrey with the Fringe on Top”; you’ll find this tune totally attractive, and will be coming back to listen to it over and over (and OVER) again.

 

I was first exposed to Gary’s high-energy jazz vocal work when I reviewed his “Moonlight Tonight” album, and the elegance of his gift will come crystal clear to you as you listen to his performance of Jerry Bock’s “Far From The Home I Love”… I loved this song!

 

Of the dozen terrific tunes Gary and his players offer up, it was (easily) “Celebration” that got my vote for personal favorite… a truly amazing jazz performance.

 

I give Gary and his top-flight players a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED rating, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) score of 4.99 for this excellent album.  

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Music Pen Club: CD Review

Gary Brumburgh - Full Circle Review

(Review by Keizo Takada)

March 30, 2022

Gary Brumburgh has 20 years of experience as a musical actor and has been active in numerous musical stages such as "South Pacific."  since he appeared in Cy Coleman's jazz musical "City of Angels," in 2003, he has been sionging jazz in clubs.  He released his first jazz vocal album "Up Jumped Spring" in 2008, but suffered from cancer and was force to fight illness.  In 2016, his illness healed and he resumed his activities, and in 2018, he released his second album "Moonlight."  The third album was in collaboration with the same producer Barbara Brighton and Jamieson Trotter, who is in charge of piano and arrangements.  Brumburgh has previously performed in the musicals "Cabaret," "Oklahoma," "South Pacific," "The Fantastick," "Company," "Celebration," etc. and on the album is singing relatively unknown numbers with a jazz-like approach to Trooter's variety of arrangements.  

 

Accompaniment is Jamieson Trotter (p) Gabe Devis (b) Christian Euman (ds), Larry Koonse (g) Danny Janklow (as, ts) Scott Whitfield (tb) Ross Garren (Ha) Leo Costa (per), who give great support including Trotter's piano. Brumburgh has a musical background, so the story expression of the song is a bit different. A change from "The Surrey With The Fringe On Top", which is rarely sung at a slow tempo by interacting with the trombone, and "Happy Talk" at an up tempo with an alto solo. With a warm and soft voice, including scat, his singing in the bop style is very impressive. 

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The Jazz Room (La Habitacion del Jazz: CD Review

Gary Brumburgh - Full Circle Review

(Review by Jose Ramon)

February 14, 2022

Gary Brumburgh was born in Buffalo.  His voice was inherited from his mother, classical singer/pianist/ teacher Doris Brumburgh Maretti. He studied piano under the tutelage of his mother at the age of 7. He would soon abandon the piano for voice and acting.  Brumburgh was only 14 years old when he started acting in school musicals. He has performed in musical theater for nearly two decades.  His career was centered as a professional actor and he found roles in plays, musicals, commercials, movies, and television.

Despite his success on the theatrical stage, his interest in jazz was sparked after performing in Cy Coleman's City of Angels. His new idols and influences were Sarah Vaughan, Shirley Horne, Sheila Jordan, Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Joe Williams and especially Mel Tormé.  Leaving musical theater behind in 2003, Brumburgh focused solely on jazz and began performing regularly in Los Angeles jazz clubs.  Unfortunately, in 2012 and 2014, two episodes of cancer forced him to abandon his musical career. The disease finally went into remission in 2016 and once Brumburgh was able to get her voice back, he sang again.

"Full Circle" is Brumburgh's third album as a leader after "Moonlight" (2018) and "Up Jumped Spring" (2008) and is a tribute to his roots in musical theater.   Brumburgh opens the album with the explosive "Everybody's Gotta Be Somewhere" from Cy Coleman's musical City of Angels, the show that inspired him to turn to jazz. The original lyrics are about a detective searching for a woman who may be involved in a murder. Here he changes and tries to search for a woman whom he has lost track of. Excellent beginning that allows us to glimpse what the rest of the album contains.  The song "Celebration" is from a musical of the same name. Composed by Harvey Schmidt with lyrics by Tom Jones, Trotter's arrangement gives it a bluesy swing. Brumburgh gives the song a live performance feel by adding the musicians as audience members clapping and chanting the lyrics. 

"Why Should I Wake Up" from the musical Cabaret, is adapted with a touch of bossa nova. Nice guitar solo by Koonse.  Rodgers and Hammerstein's "The Surrey with the Fringe on Top" is from the musical Oklahoma!, which launched Brumburgh's career in musical theater. This time Brumburgh plays it slowly, like a moving ballad, reminding us of Chet Baker. Beautiful Whitfield trombone.  South Pacific's "Happy Talk" is another Rodgers and Hammerstein composition. A fast-paced beginning with Janklow's sax and Trotter's piano gives way to Brumburgh who, together with the aforementioned, delights us with this song that includes a very brief but interesting scat.

“Soon It's Gonna Rain" is a ballad from The Fantasticks by Harvey Schmidt and Tom Jones. Brumburgh sings it with his characteristic sensitivity. Trotter gives the arrangement a Latin touch that fits like a glove.  "Sorry-Grateful" has one of those hooky song openings. Brumburgh has appeared in three Stephen Sondheim musicals and therefore has included this theme. Davis shines in his solo as does Janklow with a delicious sax sound.  "You've Got to Be Taught," also from South Pacific, serves as a way for Brumburgh to show off his balladry chops. Whitfield accompanies him perfectly on trombone as well as the piano and drums section.

Sondheim's "Love I Hear" from A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Forum is sung by a witty young man on the show. On this occasion, Brumburgh presents himself to us as an adult who remembers his youth.

 "I'm Glad to See You've Got What You Want," also from Celebration, tells us about a girl and a boy breaking up. Elegant swing on this light tune.  "Far From the Home I Love" is a song that touches Brumburgh's heart. This tender and moving ballad belongs to Fiddler on the Roof composed by Jerry Bock with lyrics by Sheldon Harnick. Garen with the harmonica increases the emotional sensation. Trotter at the piano is more than correct.  The disc contains a bonus track , which is none other than an extended version of "Celebration". The solos are extended and the melody develops more freely. Really good.

Brumburgh cannot hide his influence from musical theatre, where living and feeling a role is a requirement for a good performance and this translates into the way he performs. His warm and emotional voice, as well as a deep connection with the lyrics, allows him to interpret the songs with a distinct personality which makes the songs believable. In addition, the musicians that accompany him are first class. 

All About Jazz: CD Review

Gary Brumburgh - Full Circle Review

(Review by Jack Bowers)

April 14, 2022

Gary Brumburgh is living proof that a talented singer can sustain a respectable career in music without becoming a "star." Even though he's not a household name—or anywhere near it—Brumburgh performed in musical productions from dinner theatres to summer stock, concert stages to casinos for more than two decades before changing direction in 2003 to focus on jazz. Full Circle, Brumburgh's third album as a jazz vocalist, consists of eleven tunes he has sung in various musical productions, bedecked in a fashionable jazz wardrobe by pianist Jamieson Trotter.

While most of the songs on Full Circle are fairly well known, there are some pleasant surprises, especially "You've Got to Be Carefully Taught" from South Pacific and a pair from Tom Jones/Harvey Schmidt's lesser-known musical, Celebration: "I'm Glad to See You've Got What You Want" and the title selection. Jones and Schmidt also wrote the ballad "Soon It's Gonna Rain" from the longest-running off-Broadway musical ever, The Fantasticks. From City of Angels Brumburgh has chosen "Everybody's Gotta Be Somewhere," from Cabaret "Why Should I Wake Up," from Fiddler on the Roof "Far from the Home I Love."

There's one more theme—"Happy Talk"—from South Pacific, and a duo by one of Brumburgh's favorite composers, Stephen Sondheim: "Sorry-Grateful" from Company and "Love, I Hear" from A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Perhaps most unusual in terms of its arrangement is "The Surrey with the Fringe on Top" from Oklahoma!, taken at an extremely slow clip-clop with Scott Whitfield's expressive trombone underlining Brumburgh's vocal. There is one bonus track, an extended version of "Celebration," which seems to be the only number performed for an audience. Brumburgh scats on that one, while almost everyone in the supporting cast solos. Besides Trotter and Whitfield, that ensemble includes saxophonist Danny Janklow (superb on the swifter numbers, "Everybody's Gotta Be Somewhere" and "Happy Talk"), guitarist Larry Koonse, bassist Gabe Davis, drummer Christian Euman, percussionist Leo Costa and Ross Garren on harmonica.

As noted, Brumburgh isn't a "star" as the term is usually applied.  Even so, he is a capable singer who breathes life into every song, knows his way around the jazz lexicon, and is backed by eight admirable musicians on a better-than-average showcase.

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