January/February 1997

Michael Brecker
Tales from the Hudson
Impulse!

Brecker, whose tenor saxophone has graced pop performances by James Taylor and Paul Simon as well as plenty of straight-ahead jazz sessions, can be as exciting as any jazzman alive. His solos have a way of rising to a quick boil and catching you up in their immediacy. This happens several times on this album, an all-star date with guitarist Pat Metheny, pianist Joey Calderazzo or McCoy Tyner, bassist Dave Holland, drummer Jack DeJohnette and guest percussionist Don Alias. It happens on Metheny's "Song for Bilboa," where Brecker chomps at the chord changes in a manner reminiscent of John Coltrane on "Out of This World" (from the album, Coltrane). It happens on "Willie T." as he sweeps up to a swirling, raspy-toned climax with the drums knocking heatedly underneath. And it happens on "Cabin Fever," an uptempo tour de force with Brecker cruising like a high-speed steamroller.

The tenor man's estimable sidemen are in aggressive jazz form. They, too, seem caught up in the electric
atmosphere. - Owen Cordle

Originally published in January/February 1997
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