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Time Is of the Essence

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Album Review

Michael Brecker introduced a couple of new wrinkles to his sound on his sixth album, in the form of two new sidemen. Larry Goldings' organ makes for an unusual quartet — also including Brecker on tenor sax, frequent guest Pat Metheny on guitar, and one of three different drummers — in that there is no bass. As a result, Metheny often fills in that role when he isn' t soloing. Goldings' touch is light, in contrast to the more intense playing of Brecker and Metheny. But it is the second new sideman who makes a difference: Elvin Jones guests on drums on three tracks. Brecker had never shied away from announcing his influences, and with Jones behind the traps, especially on the opening track, "Arc of the Pendulum," and the closer, "Outrance" (both Brecker originals), he indulges his affection for John Coltrane, playing freely and aggressively across the rhythm. Jones, who gets a showcase solo in "Outrance," is unmistakable, and his support often makes Brecker sound like Coltrane. With Bill Stewart behind the drums, the group performs "Renaissance Man," a tribute to another major Brecker influence, Eddie Harris, and Brecker unabashedly recalls Harris there. The tunes, five by Brecker, two by Metheny, and one each by Goldings and producer George Whitty, are loosely structured and run from six to ten minutes each, so that the disc runs 70 minutes. Clearly, they could have gone longer: Several of them fade out, sometimes during a Brecker or Metheny solo, an oddity on a jazz album.


Born: 29 March 1949 in Philadelphia, PA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

A remarkable technician and a highly influential tenor saxophonist (the biggest influence on other tenors since Wayne Shorter), Michael Brecker took a long time before getting around to recording his first solo album. He spent much of his career as a top-notch studio player who often appeared backing pop singers, leading some jazz listeners to overlook his very strong improvising skills. Brecker originally started on clarinet and alto before switching to tenor in high school. Early on, he played...
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Time Is of the Essence, Michael Brecker
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  • €10.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: 01 January 1999

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