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Nearness of You: The Ballad Book

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ted Panken
"Simplicity" and "understatement" are not the first words that pop to mind when considering the tonal personality of tenor saxophone icon Michael Brecker, who is famous for sculpting detailed, logical, crescendoing improvisations from swarms of notes with immaculate execution at any tempo. Yet those words define the ambiance Brecker creates on Nearness of You, a program of 11 ballads. Using John Coltrane's legendary Ballads album as a template, the master holds back, elasticizes his tone, and tells his stories at a leisurely pace. Complementing his every phrase are longtime associates Pat Metheny, guitar and producer; Herbie Hancock, piano; Charlie Haden, bass; Jack ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ted Panken
"Simplicity" and "understatement" are not the first words that pop to mind when considering the tonal personality of tenor saxophone icon Michael Brecker, who is famous for sculpting detailed, logical, crescendoing improvisations from swarms of notes with immaculate execution at any tempo. Yet those words define the ambiance Brecker creates on Nearness of You, a program of 11 ballads. Using John Coltrane's legendary Ballads album as a template, the master holds back, elasticizes his tone, and tells his stories at a leisurely pace. Complementing his every phrase are longtime associates Pat Metheny, guitar and producer; Herbie Hancock, piano; Charlie Haden, bass; Jack DeJohnette, drums -- each as state-of-the-art on their instrument as Brecker is on his; the all-stars play at anticipated levels of craft, subtlety and invention, and form a unit, devoting themselves unfailingly to the imperatives of ensemble interplay. The singer James Taylor contributes vocals on a reimagined "Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight" Brecker played the signifying tenor solo on its original incarnation 30 years ago and on the title track.
All Music Guide - Paula Edelstein
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. Brecker has updated these great songs with the addition of Pat Metheny's excellent production prowess on such great ballads as Joe Zawinul's "Midnight Mood" and the Kurt Weill-Ira Gershwin standard "My Ship." "Midnight Mood" is sensual and seductive, complete with a blithe piano solo by Herbie Hancock in the middle section. Hancock fills in the beauty of Brecker's saxophone lines on this arrangement that is partially based on guitarist Wes Montgomery's version. James Taylor sings one of the best renditions of his "Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight," and it's clearly due to the excellent musicians on this CD. Pat Metheny excels as a serious jazz artist with his well thought out treatment of "Nascente," which was inspired by Gil Evans' classic 1948 arrangement for Miles Davis on Miles Ahead. Michael Brecker has clearly maintained his status as one of the best tenor saxophonists on the jazz scene, and this, his eighth CD as a leader, is well within the musical excellence previously recorded.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/19/2001
  • Label: Umvd Labels
  • UPC: 731454970525
  • Catalog Number: 549705

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Chan's Song (Never Said) - Charlie Haden (5:15)
  2. 2 Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight (4:44)
  3. 3 Nascente (6:18)
  4. 4 Midnight Mood (6:23)
  5. 5 The Nearness of You (4:37)
  6. 6 Incandescence (5:22)
  7. 7 Sometimes I See (5:29)
  8. 8 My Ship (7:11)
  9. 9 Always (5:37)
  10. 10 Seven Days (5:33)
  11. 11 I Can See Your Dreams (3:49)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Michael Brecker Primary Artist, Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone
Jack DeJohnette Drums
Herbie Hancock Piano
Pat Metheny Guitar
Charlie Haden Bass
Technical Credits
Herbie Hancock Composer
Pat Metheny Producer
Joe Zawinul Composer
James Farber Engineer
Ben Raleigh Composer
Steve Rodby Producer
Richard Seidel Executive Producer, Concept
Stevie Wonder Composer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

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(4)

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    James Taylor and Jazz? No Way?

    Fascinating is the only adjective that comes to mind for this album. Brecker and company are geniuses. The level of talent of the participants in this CD is just jaw-dropping. I never thought I'd see the day when James Taylor and Jazz would go together (although he only sings on 2 tracks) It is utterly amazing. Thank you Michael Brecker. That is quite an ensemble. James should sing more jazz standards. His voice is clearly not just for folk rock, country or pop.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Unbelievable

    i recently had the opportunity to see brecker perform live at a club in dallas and it was amazing. Any sax player, jazz musician, or just average listener should own this album. I'm serious, this is one you need to get!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    great sax player

    michael brekker mesmorizes with his jazzy ballad songs in the nearness of you. There are only 2 tracks with vocals on this cd, the rest is an amazing spectacular performance of jazz. Its a cd to be enjoyed by all ages and all lovers of music.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    great sax sounds of jazz

    michael brecker has got to be one of the most talented sax players. I really love the way he interpreted the nearness of you. The whole cd is relaxing and is one that can be enjoyed by person of any age.

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