Michael Brecker

Tales from the Hudson

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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.

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