Michael Brecker: Syzygy




Michael Brecker (tenor sax, EWI)


Michael Brecker (MCAD-5980)

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Michael Brecker (tenor sax, EWI), Kenny Kirkland (keyboards), Pat Metheny (guitar), Charlie Haden (bass), Jack DeJohnette (drums).

Composed by Michael Brecker


Recorded: New York, late 1986/early '87


Rating: 97/100 (learn more)

The first 2˝ minutes offer an astonishing display of Michael Brecker's uniquely muscular tenor, somersaulting and pirouetting over DeJohnette's heavily accented syncopations. Out of nowhere, the leader sticks the landing right on Haden's relentlessly repeating bass figure. Brecker weaves rhapsodic passages while continuing to improvise, even adding his EWI (Electronic Wind Instrument, looking like a soprano sax but incorporating a synthesizer) without disrupting the flow. Both Kirkland's and Metheny's solo turns are nearly equally inspired, with the guitarist showing ample chops and vigor through a tricky chord progression. The jazz spirit is so dominant that not even the use of some technologically advanced instruments foreign to jazz could get in the way. "Syzygy"—referring to the alignment of Sun, Moon and Earth during an eclipse—is the '80s version of Coltrane's "Countdown."

Reviewer: S. Victor Aaron

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