So, when this album first came out, I was split in what to think about it. I have long loved the utilization of strings and orchestras in jazz, hell even in rock and metal. Pink Floyd and Metallica have some killing live performances with such. I guess I’ve always just thought strings mostly make everything better. So, I was stoked when the first track started playing and right away there’s strings.
This album is beautiful from beginning to end. I love it. It’s lush and vibey. The reason I was split on it is just because I was nitpicking. Michael Brecker’s sound (like everyone’s to some extent) changed over the years. During the mid 90’s, his sound was definitely different than even 5 years prior. Actually, if you were paying attention, his sound was even slightly different on “Now You See It Now You Don’t” (1990). He was definitely working on things and pushing towards something. The next album I bought was McCoy Tyner’s “Infinity”. Mike’s sound had definitely changed from the 80’s..as had his playing….it was progressing…to his credit. He never stopped progressing, right until the end. However, his sound was just different, and I wasn’t feeling it as much. It was smaller, maybe more compact, difficult to describe. Other people may have better adjectives than I do.
This album is that sound for him, and as I said I wasn’t as fond of it as I was the earlier stuff. Give me the 70’s and especially the 80’s. It seemed there was more power and a bigger sound. In all fairness, he was moving towards playing more straight ahead situations and this sound was probably more compatible. However, I was already not listening to Mike as much, as I had to step away to find myself, but that didn’t stop me from checking in every once in a while.
Fast forward years later, after bearing witness to Mike’s path, when I go back and listen, I find myself enjoying it much more than back then. I’m not expecting anything. I’m able to be in the moment and just enjoy the beauty.
The band is ridiculous:
Charlie Haden – Bass
Michael Brecker – Tenor Saxophone
Brad Mehldau – Piano
Brian Blade – Drums
I’m not sure the string players are given credit, but the arranging is done by Alan Broadbent, Vince Mendoza, and Jeremy Lubbock. This line up is stellar, and it shows within the music.
I’m not going to review this or anything, but if you want to hear what people think about it, google it’s reviews. They are quite entertaining. Like me, people were split on it, but for different reasons. You’ve got people saying “the album is too long”. Dude, like, what? In the days where you never get top tier players on other people’s album for the whole album, you’re going to complain that an album is too long? That just seems ridiculous to me…especially with an album so beautiful. There were also people complaining about its softer, more lush vibe. I guess they want to hear Mike blazing. You can’t shred ALL the time. It gets old. But, nonetheless, the dude was like “Don’t buy this album unless you’re over 90 years old” or something like that. I may to agree with it, but damn that’s funny.
So if you’re lookin for something chill, check it out. I hope enjoy it.