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The Oberhamer Brothers – Together Again!

May 14, 2017

The Oberhamer Brothers are a pair of brothers who’ve each carved out an impressive individual resume and who come from backgrounds not necessarily influenced by contemporary or smooth jazz. In fact, their latest recording, Together Again!, is actually their debut smooth jazz release. It’s a well-produced album containing 9 flavorful originals and one cover tune.

With Brandon Oberhamer laying down the sax lines as brother Doug handles the flugelhorn, piano, guitar, drum, and keys tracking duties, the duo has created a cool sound that does hint at how they transitioned from other jazz to this place. Brandon’s experience lies in being a big band leader, teacher, and freelancer in Calgary, Alberta, Canada while Doug’s focus has been on classical/straight-ahead jazz. He’s currently a musical director on Broadway in New York.

Coming together and trying on smooth jazz for size, it seems that the two of them have found a custom fit. Their silky texture and clean hooks and melodies leave no doubt that their respective backgrounds were factors in the making of this album.

The overall mood here is fairly measured and deliberate. This is smooth jazz with a lot of presence while not showcasing heavy or fancy bass lines or thunderous and funky drums (though those factors will always get my vote, as well, mind you). Coming at you with infectious and comely melodies, this is an effective project that smartly combines Brandon’s cool, rather soulful sax riffs and Doug’s calling, lilting flugelhorn, giving the album clear identity and polish.

Tracks of note to me include the snappy lead track “Into the Night,” the soulful, boogie-style “Undercurrent” with its solid horn arrangement, the easy-flowing and sax-sensuous “There Is Love,” the lively and colorful “Your Love,” the sexy “One More Night,” and the handsome interpretation of Gloria Estefan’s “Here We Are,” for starters.

Together Again! makes a very decent impression, and one can only hope that The Oberhamer Brothers remain on the smooth jazz scene as they obviously have much to offer. –Ronald Jackson