Search - Michael Brecker :: Nearness of You: The Ballad Book

Nearness of You: The Ballad Book
Michael Brecker
Nearness of You: The Ballad Book
Genres: Jazz, Pop
  •  Track Listings (11) - Disc #1

Ballad albums can be tricky affairs. How do you create tempos that are sensuous but not sluggish? What makes a ballad moody and beautiful and not just boring? Those questions seem moot when the musicians involved are tenor...  more »


Larger Image

CD Details

All Artists: Michael Brecker
Title: Nearness of You: The Ballad Book
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 2
Label: Umvd Labels
Release Date: 6/19/2001
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Styles: Jazz Fusion, Modern Postbebop, Smooth Jazz
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 731454970525, 0731454970525

Ballad albums can be tricky affairs. How do you create tempos that are sensuous but not sluggish? What makes a ballad moody and beautiful and not just boring? Those questions seem moot when the musicians involved are tenor-sax titan Michael Brecker, guitarist Pat Metheny, drummer Jack DeJohnette, pianist Herbie Hancock, and bassist Charlie Haden, but heavy hitters don't necessarily insure success. Nearness of You: The Ballad Book begins with Hancock's willowy "Chan's Song." Performed at a sleepy tempo, it is a languid introduction, even for an all-ballad album. Brecker and Metheny blow mighty solos, but the song remains passive. James Taylor guests on a mellow rendition of "Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight" and on the title track. Taylor's yearning tenor is warm and expressive, but the band treats him with kid gloves, as if playing too closely might break the singer in half. Things look up on Joe Zawinul's "Midnight Mood," a twilight vehicle with sumptuous solos all around. Nearness is divided into Chapter One and Chapter Two, and Chapter Two really shines, particularly the original contributions by producer Metheny and Brecker. The entire ensemble becomes more involved and animated, with rapt solos on Brecker's "Incandescence" and Metheny's bittersweet "Sometimes I See" and "Seven Days." Nearness features ample performances, but for truly inspired ballad fare, check out singer Johnny Hartman's I Just Dropped by to Say Hello, or the quintessential Ballads, by John Coltrane. --Ken Micallef

Similarly Requested CDs


CD Reviews

Excellent Production, Wonderful Music
thejazzdoctor | Boca Raton, FL United States | 06/29/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The reactions to this album have been very mixed indeed, with ratings from 5 stars to 0 (!). I think that part of the confusion is that this certainly is not a typical Michael Brecker album. Whereas Brecker's playing is often quirky and outside (e.g. "Delta City Blues" on Two Blocks From The Edge - what a track), this album is much more "inside". The longing tone is perfectly suited to the material, and the sidemen add to the overall effect.If you are looking for a fusion album, this isn't it. Further, NO EWI, which I was disappointed by. That said, I personally found this album highly satisfying. The two tracks with vocals both feature James Taylor, and provide a gentle rendition of two of my favourite tunes. I am certainly looking forward to the next "funky" album from Brecker, but I am not in any way disappointed with the work here. It's got a depth which is worthy of further listening, and is worth every cent I paid for it. Highly recommended."
Warm ballads you'll want at midnight
rash67 | USA | 08/10/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I believe it is in ballad playing that a jazz player exposes himself or shows us the depth of his personality or emotions (or lack thereof). The faster jazz gets, the more difficult it may be to play, or co-ordinate parts (Many famous Jazz names spring to mind, here) but the frenetic sounds don't communicate to people's souls like the slower music.I like this CD and the warm feelings it creates in the listener. James Taylor goes from Folk-rock to Jazz without missing a beat - his style is well adapted to Jazz. Pat Metheney avoids showing off his rapid-fire technical skills and subordinates himself, playing well in a supporting role, as do the other all-stars on the album. Michael Brecker pays careful attention to'll find yourself returning to this again and again. After the sound and fury is over, contemplate this at midnight.three and a half stars for an all-star ballad performance! five stars for recording quality"
Classic Brecker
Steve A. | Los Angeles, CA United States | 07/07/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I've always been a pretty huge Michael Brecker fan. I've especially enjoyed his Tenor solos on the pop-oriented ballads of James Taylor ("Don't Let Me Be Lonely.."), Donald Fagen ("Maxine"), Michael Franks ("When She Is Mine"), etc. He floats so effortlessly and lyrically over the changes that I'm always left wanting more.I bought "Nearness" because it seemed like an opportunity to finally hear him stretch out over some ballads. As it turns out, I was correct.I love this record. Everyone on it layed down a solid performance. And Michael Brecker's sound seems to have a kind of haunting melancholy thing going on that really sings out on these tunes.No disappointment here...I highly recommend it."