Arting Around | Bunny Brunel Performs with His Band CAB for Two Spectacular Summer Concerts!
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Studio City (Perfect Music Today) 9/8/19/–Bassist Bunny Brunel became known from his 9-year stint with Chick Corea. He performed, recorded, and musical directed with the most famous musicians in the world, including Natalie Cole, Stevie Wonder, Herbie Hancock, Patrick Moraz, and Wayne Shorter. His historical CD Bass Ball (2017) starred Brunel and his co-producer Stanley Clarke. Bunny released several CAB albums, including his solo albums that all feature the top of the jazz food chain—a total of 15 releases, and he’s working on Bass Ball 2! Known for his mind-blowing execution on his instrument, Bunny Brunel is a fusion leader and is one of the four founding fathers of the Jazz Fusion Bass Movement. You’ll be hearing more about this in Stanley Clarke’s upcoming documentary about Bunny Brunel currently in production. So when fusion enthusiasts learn of a CAB concert, they come in droves just to be up close and personal, hoping to get a glimpse of the 2-time Grammy-nominated Bunny Brunel’s musical wizardry!
I’ve seen many CAB concerts and am still amazed by the level of musicianship and memorable tunes with pulsating rhythms. I happened to attend two CAB concerts just 2 weeks apart: One in Newport Beach and the other in Studio City.
On July 26, 2019, at the Back Bay Bistro in Newport Beach, Bunny Brunel performed with his band CAB, which included Julian Coryell (guitar), Kaylene Peoples (flute/vocals), Mitch Forman (keys) and Chad Wackerman (drums). CAB has earned a Grammy-nomination for their album CAB 2. Bunny Brunel is the remaining founding member and has set an unusually unreachable high bar for fusion. Many have compared him to Jaco Pastorius because of his fierce fretless playing and unique sound. Brunel has been the one to watch for serious jazz-fusion and always performs with power players. CAB has had many incarnations over the years, which have included co-founding members Tony MacAlpine (guitar) and Dennis Chambers (drums). Other past members of CAB include Brian Auger and Patrice Rushen.
Back Bay Bistro’s Brian Ross surprised the group with a boat ride equipped with French wine and hors D’oeuvres before downbeat—now that’s what I call setting the tempo for the evening’s festivities!
CAB is known all over the world for its hard-edged, groove-oriented music with unforgettable melodies such as their theme song “CAB” and others. The band opened with an audience favorite “The Prankster,” setting the tone for the entire evening. Combining complex jazz harmonies, complicated modal riffs, with heavy, driving rhythmic tempos, Bunny Brunel led the way with his always mind-blowing dexterous fingering on the bass. Mid-concert Julian Coryell (son of the late Larry Coryell) launched into a seismic guitar solo as he shredded. Later Coryell showed off his range as he brought the tempo down with his brilliant rendition of “Ravel’s Bolero.” Mitch Forman added his impeccable phrasing on the keys and enchanted us all with his solos; and as world-famous drummer, Chad Wackerman solidly provided the pocket that supported the rhythm section. After CAB played a few compositions, Kaylene Peoples then came onstage to perform on flute, featuring several Chick Corea tunes and delighting the audience with a dynamic vocal performance of “Spain.” Peoples displayed finesse and powerful virtuosity on the flute and vocals. That evening at the Back Bay Bistro, Bunny Brunel’s band performed two high-octane sets filled with dynamic music and the Back Bay Bistro’s five-star gourmet cuisine.
Bunny Brunel’s CAB performed to a sold out crowd at the famous Baked Potato in Studio City on August 17, 2019. The lineup that evening featured Bunny Brunel (fretless), Virgil Donati (drums), Dennis Hamm (keys) Alex Sill (guitar), and Kaylene Peoples (flute/vocals). From the very first note the audience was treated to music that rocked the house. There were wonderful improvisational exchanges between Brunel and Hamm, each musician providing complex colors and riffs that accented those driving tempos. Renown drummer Virgil Donati did an intense 10-minute drum solo as Dennis Hamm vamped on the keyboards. Bunny Brunel played his fretless with the usual fluidity and precision, while leading the way through his original compositions. Newcomer Alex Sill subbed on guitar, playing flawlessly CAB’s complex arrangements. With a strong presence on the flute, Kaylene Peoples played lightening fast riffs in unison and soloed, commanding attention with her solid flute chops, then later, wowing with her dynamic vocal performance of “Spain.” The band closed the concert with the audience favorite “Stratus!”
Set 1: “The Prankster,” “Hold On,” “Song For My Friend,” “Raymond,” “Night Streets,” and “The Slide.” Set 2: “Drum Solo,” “CAB,” “One for Stern,” “Spain,” and “Stratus.”
In the attendance that evening were Larry Dunn (Original member/composer/producer of Earth Wind & Fire) and wife Luisa Dunn, Chuck Dennis (Promoter of Oxnard Jazz Festival), and Artemis Women In Action Film Festival director Melanie Wise.
To catch a future CAB concert, visit bunnybrunel.com for upcoming performances.
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