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Tales from the Hudson

Michael Brecker

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Album Review

Michael Brecker, a major influence on today's young saxophonists, shows off his own influences a bit throughout this fine modern straight-ahead set. Brecker sounds surprisingly like Stanley Turrentine on parts of "Midnight Voyage," and otherwise displays his roots in Ernie Watts and John Coltrane. With the exception of Don Grolnick's "Willie T.," the music on the CD is comprised of group originals (five by the leader) and falls into the 1990s mainstream of jazz. While the tenor saxophonist has plenty of blowing space (really letting loose on the exciting closer, "Cabin Fever"), Pat Metheny is mostly pretty restrained (in a Jim Hall bag) except for his wild solo on guitar synth during "Song for Bilbao." Pianist Joey Calderazzo starts out sounding a bit like McCoy Tyner on "Slings and Arrows" before his own musical personality is revealed. When Tyner himself plays on "Song for Bilbao" (one of two guest appearances), one can certainly tell the difference between master and pupil. All of Michael Brecker's recordings as a leader (as opposed to his cameos as a sideman on pop records) are easily recommended and show why he is considered a giant by many listeners.

Customer Reviews

Mediocre Brecker

Michael Brecker is known the world over for his commanding tone and Herculean chops. This album certainly exudes the proficiency most jazz musicians search a lifetime to attain. Sadly, though, Michael is not known for controversy like the greatest of his predecessors. He doesn't take a lot of chances in his playing, so this album is sure to satisfy any jazz appetite, but for the more savant you may still be hungry when walking away. His sound is reminiscent of Ernie Watts, the setting is generally playful, and Brecker just soars with domineering lines of prodigious power. The rhythm section is never lacking of being in the pocket, and Pat Metheny's solo on "Song for Bibloa" displays his wonderful ability with synthesized sound in creating a futuristic trumpet tone (parellel with his sound on The Way Up). The album is good, but for those looking for something a little more away from the contemporary sound may want to get Wide Angles or Two Blocks From The Edge first. Definitely worth checking out.

Good Stuff

This is a good album- brecker and his rhythm section all sound great. Best songs- slings and aarows, african skies.....if you like this, mayb check out some terrence blanchard or some jushua redman quartet- both highly recommended.

Among Brecker's Best!

I have had the opportunity to see MANY live jazz performances, and was expecially fortunate to see one of the very few tour dates Michael Brecker played to support this record - complete with Pat Metheny, Jack DeJohnette, Dave Holland and Joey Calderazzo. Song for Bilbao is indeed one of the best tunes from this record.

Biography

Born: March 29, 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...
Full Bio