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Charlie Haden and Michael Brecker: American Dreams

Michael Brecker’s tenor saxophone, with its declamatory pronouncements and keening high notes, commands attention throughout American Dreams, but Haden’s bass is at the bottom of the dreamy feeling that pervades all but one track.

Haden’s title composition opens the album with the bassist playing a folk song-like melody over strings arranged in rich layers by Alan Broadbent. As the strings fade, pianist Brad Mehldau introduces a second melody. Haden interacts with Mehldau. Brian Blade skips brushes across drums and cymbals, crystal strokes against time that’s as soft as the mood. Just a degree above silence, the strings slip in under the trio, swelling as Haden works his way back into the first theme and concludes a performance of great simplicity and beauty.

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