Verve (Play 33 1/3)
180 Gram Vinyl Record
|No. of Discs:||2|
Saxophone legend forms all-star band for first-ever ballads project!
Special appearance by James Taylor on two tracks!
180-gram double LP plus booklet
On Nearness of You: The Ballad Book tenor saxophonist great Michael Brecker turns to an all-ballad format. With his dream ensemble of fellow jazz giants — pianist Herbie Hancock, guitarist Pat Metheny, bassist Charlie Haden, and drummer Jack DeJohnette — Brecker creates instant contemporary classics with several originals, standards from the American songbook, a modern Brazilian gem, and eloquent contributions from within the band. Legendary singer-songwriter James Taylor adds his voice on two of the album's 11 songs — the Hoagy Carmichael/Ned Washington-written title track and Taylor's own "Don't Let Me Lonely Tonight."
"This was definitely one of the most enjoyable and memorable sessions I've ever been involved with," says Brecker. Nearness of You was produced by Metheny, marking the first time the guitarist had stepped into that role for any major jazz artist other than himself and his own group. "We were co-leading a quartet on five-week tour of Europe in the summer of 2000," Brecker explains, "and I had been talking to Pat about the album. The idea suddenly struck me and I said, ‘Hey, wait a minute, do you want to produce it?' He's a genius with sound."
Of this newest recording's repertoire, Brecker says, "I wanted it to be a modern ballad album; an elegant, simple statement. So I steered clear of the ballads in the traditional tenor vocabulary, like ‘Body and Soul,' ‘Round Midnight,' ‘Lush Life,' which are timeless tunes that I love to play, but have been covered so many times."
The unique selections on Nearness of You: The Ballad Book include Joe Zawinul's "Midnight Mood," with an arrangement partially based on guitarist Wes Montgomery's version, Irving Berlin's "Always," which Larry Goldings introduced to Brecker during a tour, and the Kurt Weill-Ira Gershwin standard, "My Ship," with a treatment inspired by the arrangement Gil Evans did for Miles Davis on Miles Ahead, and Flavio Venturini's "Nascente."
|1. Chan's Song|
|2. Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight|
|1. Midnight Mood|
|2. The Nearness Of You|
|1. Sometimes I See|
|2. My Ship|
|2. Seven Days|
|3. I Can See Your Dreams|