“Mike made a huge impact on the world of jazz when he started to play professionally because of his concept and technical ability. I first met Michael Brecker in the late 60′s when, as a judge at the intercollegiate jazz festival at Notre Dame, I chose him as the best musician.He was a student at Indiana University at the time. I was so impressed with his musical maturity and great technical ability and he was already on his way to discovering his own voice. One could plainly observe that he was destined to become one of the great players. When we spoke at that time, I told him that I knew I’d eventually see him in New York…” – Charlie Haden
Charlie Haden’s feelings for his country run deep. And even when there are no words involved, as on this all-instrumental album, the bassist’s heart-on-his-sleeve pride in his homeland comes shining through. If only one song is explicitly a nationalistic ode (“America the Beautiful”), each of the other tracks is permeated by a glowing musical radiance that communicates heartfelt emotions. Each member of the all-star unit seems to have been touched by this same elation: tenor saxophonist Michael Brecker, pianist Brad Mehldau, and drummer Brian Blade all play with elegance and invention. (Noted arrangers Alan Broadbent, Vince Mendoza, and Jeremy Lubbock, with a 34-piece orchestra in tow, also contribute to the general excellence of the project.) The material ranges widely, utilizing work from Haden (“American Dreams”) and Mehldau, Keith Jarrett, Ornette Coleman, Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays, and Don Sebesky, as well as Hollywood tunesmiths Alan and Marilyn Bergman and Don Grusin (including the popular “It Might Be You”). It’s fitting that Haden expresses his love of country through his obvious love of American music. (Barnes & Noble)
The seven-time Grammy award-winning tenor saxophonist, Michael Brecker brings an all-star band together on this first ever ballad project titled Nearness of You: The Ballad Book. Accompanied by Herbie Hancock on piano, Pat Metheny on guitars, Charlie Haden on bass, Jack DeJohnette on drums, and a special guest appearance by James Taylor, singing his sensational hit “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight” and Hoagy Carmichael’s “The Nearness of You,” the tenor saxophonist creates rich resonant statements on 11 songs collected in two chapters and their epilogue. Michael Brecker has clearly maintained his status as one of the best tenor saxophonists on the jazz scene, and this is well within the musical excellence previously recorded. (Allmusic.com)
Grace Paley, the award-winning author and social activist, was once asked if she taught her students to write about what they know. “No,” she answered, “I teach them to write what they don’t know about what they know.” It is precisely this quality of exploration, of stretching out into new, uncharted territory, that characterizes the work of tenor saxophonist Michael Brecker on Don’t Try This At Home, his second solo recording. Searching, probing, absorbing, experimenting, analyzing – Brecker is in a constant state of artistic reflection and expansion.
This is an album where the music just gets better and better. Michael Brecker’s tenor playing is so rich and warm. His speed and clarity are extraordinary. The line up on this album top notch. It is really a “best of the best” with Jack DeJohnette on drums, Charlie Haden on bass, Kenny Kirkland on piano and Pat Metheny on guitar. The entire group is really tight and it is really impossible to say anyone is better than the other. It works! (Amazon.com)