Claus Ogerman & Michael Brecker – Cityscape {WarnerBros}

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Claus Ogerman & Michael Brecker – Cityscape {WarnerBros}

Post-Bop, Crossover Jazz, Chamber Music

CD, EAC rip, AccurateRip, FLAC tracks, Full artwork

346 MB.

AllMusic Review by James Manheim

German-born composer and arranger Claus Ogerman, born in 1930, must rank as one of the most versatile musicians of the twentieth century. When he was at his peak in the 1970s, writing everything from ballet scores to arrangements for Brazilian composer Antonio Carlos Jobim, diva Barbra Streisand, and jazz/R&B saxophonist George Benson, there was hardly a radio station on the dial where his music wasn’t heard during the course of a typical day — and he’s still quite active.

The key to his success has been his ability to stay in the background behind the musician he’s working with and yet create something distinctive. This 1982 collaboration with the late jazz saxophonist Michael Brecker is one of his most successful works, not least because the overlap between the extended harmonies of jazz and the chromaticism of the late German Romantic polyphony in which Ogerman was trained is large enough to allow Brecker to operate comfortably — his improvisations seem to grow naturally out of the background, and the intersections between jazz band and orchestral strings come more easily here than on almost any other crossover between jazz and classical music.

The mood is nocturnal and reflective. Brecker at this point had not yet made an album as a bandleader; he was primarily known to those who closely followed jazz and R&B session musicians. The album was originally billed as a release by Claus Ogerman with Michael Brecker. Yet notice how skillfully Ogerman eases the fearsomely talented young saxophonist into the spotlight.

The highlight of the album is a three-part suite called In the Presence and Absence of Each Other, and in its middle movement, track 5, the saxophone is silent until about a minute before the end — yet everything in the piece leads up to this magical explosion of lyricism.

The packaging describes this album as a “virtual concerto for saxophone and orchestra with jazz rhythm section,” but it’s a little more complicated than that — actually, it’s a concerto for jazz band, with saxophone leader, and orchestra. That creates several layers, and it is precisely in handling these layers where jazz/classical crossovers tend to fail — and where Ogerman succeeds. A very sweet experience for listeners from either side of the divide.

Tracklist:
01. Cityscape (8:47)
02. Habanera (8:09)
03. Nightwings (7:45)
04. In the Presence and Absence of Each Other (Part.1) (8:57)
05. In the Presence and Absence of Each Other (Part.2) (6:49)
06. In the Presence and Absence of Each Other (Part.3) (6:41)
07. In the Presence and Absence of Each Other (Part.3) [alternate mix] (6:38)

Personnel:
Michael Brecker – tenor saxophone
Claus Ogerman – composer, arranger, conductor
Warren Bernhardt – keyboards
Steve Gadd – drums
Eddie Gomez, Marcus Miller – bass
John Tropea, Buzz Feiten – guitar
Paulinho da Costa – percussion

Produced by Tommy Lipuma
Recorded & mixed by Al Schmitt
Assistant Engineers: Hugh Davies, Don Koldon, Jason Corsaro, Don Wershba and Michael Christopher

Recorded at The Power Station, New York, NY; Mediasound, New York, NY; Sound Labs, Hollywood, CA; Capitol Recording, Hollywood, CA

Concertmaster: David Nadien
Production Coordination: Jan Abbazia and Noel Newbolt
Cover Art: Louis Lozowick, New York, 1923, lithograph, 11 x 9 in. Edition of 15; collection of Gill and Tommy Lipuma, Los Angeles, CA

Art Direction/Design: Simon Levy
Photography: Suzanne Nyerges

Reissue Supervision: Richard Seidel
Warner Jazz Masters Supervision: Patrick Milligan
Audio Supervision: Jeff Magid
Remastering: David Donnelly at DNA Mastering, Studio City, CA
Reissue Art Direction and Design: Greg Allen@gapd
Editorial Supervision: Cory Frye
Project Assistance: Tim Scanlin, Mike Engstrom, Maria McKenna, Marc Salata, Julee Stover, Steven Chean, Steven Gorman, Reggie Collins, April Milek and Randy Perry

1982 & 2003 Warner Bros. Records Inc. for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States

Warner Music Group, a Time Warner Company

—–Test the Quality: Track 02. Habanera

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