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4.8 out of 5 stars
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on February 18, 2014
I hadn't heard this recording in a long while and lost sight of how awesome a player Michael Brecker was. This is one of the best examples of a recording that is simultaneously contemporary and tradition-rooted. It still sounds as special as it did when I walked in a record store and stopped in my tracks to listen to the entire recording.
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on February 21, 2011
Michael Brecker's self-titled CD is in my estimation the strongest album overall in his catalog. Brecker is in his prime and in incredible form in this recording and of course being backed up by the likes of Charlie Haden, Pat Metheny, Kenny Kirkland and Jack DeJohnette does not hurt a bit.

Even though this recording is now nearly 25 years old, sonically it sounds fresh, with nice impact from the rhythm section. The interplay between bassist Haden and DeJohnette on the drums is amazing. DeJohnette's precision hi-hat work is just stunning on the album.

"Choices" is the best cut on the album and to me one of the all-time best jazz compositions period.
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I have a friend in music school, and recently, in a conversation about Ellington and Mingus and other great arrangers, Michael Brecker's name arose. My friend is far along in his study of charts but he said Brecker's charts are so complex, he looked four, five times before he really understood.

I knew about both Michael and brother Randy simply from forty years of listening to music. These two have played on so many records--well, look at it this way: if you have a thousand rock albums, if you grab a random twenty, chances are not bad either Michael or Randy are on at least one.

Now I was skeptical in buying this album on what I call "fake Impulse!" that MCA strain from the 1980s: long gone are personalities, artists, and gatefold gloss cover art of the 1960s ABC Impulse that makes the label collectible today. By the 1980s, most Impulse albums could have been released by any label.

But when I saw Jack Dejonette and Charlie Haden--I mean, come on, Ornette's bass player-was on this, i knew this was no Kenny G outing.

Michael Brecker is in fact a dynamic album of modernly produced jazz. There is a digital production hue on this music, but there is also the hue of Breckers composition and playing. These are long, almost post-genre pieces that wind with their multiple parts, taking on a classical sense of pace and structure. I have trouble following the pieces, and since I think I understand a good deal about how music is built, my getting lost in the middle of the house is a good thing--it is a big, bold, complex house.

And Brecker's playing is incredible. He can crackle like Coltrane, he can shriek like Sanders, he can wind around complex changes as fast as Dolphy did Mingus' 1960s complexities. Brecker's album is not from the 1960s, nor is it free jazz, nor is it on the great ABC jazz ship of old. But if you listen to the way Brecker plays- the tone, the depth, the sharpness...............

yeah...........he was listening to ALL those ABC black and orange gatefolds.
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on December 20, 2015
A classic jazz sax albums from one of the masters. I have had this CD since the 80's, but needed a new copy as it cracked... Highly recommend this, a great addition to any collection
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on October 23, 2015
Michael Brecker packed a lot of intense, smoking, Progressive Tenor Sax Jazz into his sadly, short life. You can't listen to this superb offering and not be effected.
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on May 2, 2016
It's Brecker's first album and it's just simply fantastic! Buy it! Great musicians, great tunes, great melodies, great playing. It's Brecker!
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on March 16, 2005
I can't really say enough about Michael Brecker. His music and this CD in particular (in addition to Miles and Coltrane) made me a jazz convert. Google him and you will find how influential a musician he has been during the past decade. Countless younger sax players have some Brecker in them. To deny this, is to be a "hater." The line-up on this CD is All-Star caliber and so is the material. Obviously there is no accounting for taste, especially among jazz aficionados. So everyone will not find this album to be great and amazing as I do. But to compare him to another horn player and proclaim how that musician is so much better than Brecker is just childish.
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on September 29, 2000
This is undoubtedly Mike Brecker's strongest album ... and it's pretty bad. Sure, it has its moments. But throughout the album his feeble tone, annoying inflections, and clichéd delivery bring things down. A low point is "Original Rays." While his use of the EWI is technically impressive, the song itself is one of the most irritating I've ever heard in a jazz context. Of the sidemen, all are okay except Pat Metheny, who is criminally underused. A fine example of what might have been is the haunting Don Grolnick ballad "The Cost of Living," here given what is thought of as its definitive reading. To gain an idea of just how uneffective a song it is, listen to Grolnick's own arrangement (which was a bass clarinet feature for the brilliant Marty Ehrlich, a player who could run circles around Mike Brecker while in a coma). Overall, this is an album that has done as much harm through its significant influence as it's done good.
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