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The Comet’s Tail: Performing the Compositions of Michael Brecker by Chuck Owen & The Jazz Surge

On January 13th, 2007, the music world lost a genius, Michael Brecker. While with us on this planet, Mr. Brecker established the standard by which modern saxophone playing is measured. His technical skills never over-shadowed his melodic and harmonic mastery. His artistry left fellow band members shaking their heads, audiences in awe and always wanting more. Arguably, the most prolific and innovative saxophonist in the last 50 years, Mr. Brecker was an equally masterful composer, a fact which often goes unrecognized.

Chuck Owen and the Jazz Surge‘s release "Comet’s Tail: Performing the Compositions of Michael Brecker", was conceived as a project bringing attention to Mr. Brecker’s compositional gifts and lifting up some of the most intricate, hard driving jazz compositions ever penned. The objective was to invite the jazz world’s most skillful arrangers to work up arrangements on a sampling of Mr. Becker’s compositions and to challenge the members of the Jazz Surge Big Band to put their skills to the test and generate the an intense level of energy into the resulting charts.

Mr. Owen’s project began after Mr. Brecker’s personal battle with MDS and leukemia illness surfaced. Intentions were for the Jazz Surge to perform these fresh arrangements in live performances with Mr. Brecker possibly in attendance. Well after two and a half year battle, Mr. Brecker, passed before the final works could be performed for him.

While not the initial intent, this project and resulting CD is a touching tribute to the powerful works and contributions of Michael Brecker. Soloists fronting the ultra-talented Jazz Surge Orchestra include Mr. Brecker's brother Randy and many of his longtime collaborators and dear musical friends who eagerly volunteered to join the project. The resulting recording is a fitting musical thank you note to the immeasurable contributions of a true Jazz Legend.

If you are aware of Michael Brecker’s work as a soloist, bandleader or member of his many group efforts, give this CD by Chuck Owen and the Jazz Surge a serious listen. The power of Mr. Brecker’s work is properly, complimented and elevated in "Comet’s Tail - Performing the Compositions of Michael Brecker." Thank you Mr. Owen and Company. Your work is clear with passion, love and respect for a man who contributed so much to the world of music.

These are my comments, I welcome yours.

Bruce Pulver

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Chuck Owen & The Jazz Surge
  • CD Title: The Comet’s Tail: Performing the Compositions of Michael Brecker
  • Genre: Big Band / Swing
  • Year Released: 2009
  • Record Label: MaMa Records
  • Tracks: Peep (Arr. Fred Stride) ,Slings and Arrows (Arr. Vince Mendoza) ,Itsbynne Reel (Arr. Chuck Owen) ,How Long ‘Til the Sun (Arr. Chuck Owen) ,Sumo (Arr. Dave Stamps) ,The Mean Time (Arr. Gil Goldstein) ,Take a Walk (Arr. Chuck Owen) ,Everything Happens When You’re Gone (Arr. Chuck Owen)
  • Musicians: Special Guests: Randy Brecker -Trumpet, Dave Liebman - Soprano Sax, Joe Lovano - Tenor Saxophone, Mike Mainieri - Vibes, Adam Nussbaum - Mike Stern - Rob Thomas – Violin Jazz Surge Members: Saxes: Tami Danielsson, Valerie Gillespie, Jack Wilkins, Rex Wertz, Matt Vance Trumpets: Chad Shoopman, Mike Iapichino, Jay Coble, Tom Parmerter Trombones: Keith Oshiro, Tom Brantley, Jerald Shynett, Jim Hall Rhythm: Per Danielsson, Piano, LaRue Nickelson, Guitar, Mark Neuenschwander, Bass, Danny Gottlieb, Drums Lowell Adams, Cello on “How Long ‘Til the Sun” David Coash, Percussion on “How Long ‘Til the Sun”, “Itsbynne Reel”
  • Rating: Four Stars
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