Michael Brecker & UMO Jazz Orchestra - Live In Helsinki 1995 (CD)


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In 1995, Tenor Saxophonist MICHAEL BRECKER was at the peak of his prodigious powers. He journeyed to Finland to perform with one of Europe�s best Big Bands, the UMO Jazz Orchestra. With only one short rehearsal, a very loose and joyful Brecker wowed the audience in Helsinki. Thankfully, the Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE) happened to capture the magic of that night. Now, �LIVE IN HELSINKI 1995� is a valuable addition to Mike�s formidable legacy: It is his first and only live recording fronting a Big Band. The set features arrangements by some of the finest writers in music. Rich Shemaria conducts and contributes charts on the Brecker Brothers tunes �Slang,� �Song For Barry� and �Never Alone.� Others were arranged by Jiggs Whigham, Vince Mendoza, Michael Mossman and Kenny Berger. The album kicks off with the standard �Invitation� � From the first notes it is evident something very special is happening. Berger�s arrangement is lit up by the inspired UMO players and Mike wails with glee. Then the crowd-pleasing �Slang,� followed by the absolutely gorgeous ballad �Andrea�s Song.� This piece was commissioned by UMO for Mike, and he delivers a heartfelt performance. Two Horace Silver tunes, the Latin fire of �Nica�s Dream� and the steaming �Nutville� are appropriately included. Silver was Mike�s bandleader and lifelong inspiration. Mendoza�s elegant �The Big Picture� is given a stirring treatment, as is Whigham�s chart on �The Meaning Of The Blues.� Sounding relaxed yet exhilarated, Brecker illustrates why he was THE saxophone champion of his generation, and why he continues to influence legions of fans. �Ginare,� an opus by Finnish composer Kirmo Lintinen, is the real showpiece of the night. An epic tenor �battle� between Michael and young saxophonist Manuel Dunkel (who was then only 24-years-old and the newest addition to UMO) tears down the house. Dunkel holds his own with his hero; at times, it is even difficult to tell them apart. Everyone wins this awesome effort. Mike�s poignant ballad �Never Alone� closes the set. In 1995, no one suspected that these would be his last musical breaths in Finland. The album is an unexpected gift from Michael Brecker, one that illustrates the fragility of life, but also celebrates its grandeur. The saxophone titan died at age 57, in 2007.

Additional Details

Label: Random Act Records

Genre: Jazz

Language: English

Run Time: 40 mins

Region: 0

Release Date: 09/18/15

UPC: 080687830916

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