On the face of it, this looked like another guest soloist with ensemble release but although Brecker is featured on all the tunes, alternating between his two horns, members of the ensemble also get a chance in the limelight, particularly pianist Kantonen.
Apart from the Holmquist originals, he reworks two standards, “All the Things You Are” (“All My Things”), “Stella by Starlight” (“My Stella”) and takes in three Chick Corea compositions – “Windows”, “Crystal Silence” and “Humpty Dumpty”. The charts vary in impact, from the quirky to the mundane with the quietly inspired in between.
On both his instruments, Brecker plays well within himself (which is pretty good by most trumpeters’ standards) producing few moments of passion but always presenting in an assured manner. Needless to say, he confidently rides over a varied rhythmic concoction whether it be rock tinged, straightahead jazz time or in ballad mode.
This is not 75+ minutes of music to set the heart racing; instead it should be viewed as yet another worthy addition to the Brecker oeuvre in the company of what is a very good Finnish big band.
One Million Circumstances; Summer and Winter; Never Let Me Go; Windows; All My Things; Crystal Silence; My Stella; Humpty Dumpty; Always Young (75.35)
Randy Brecker (t, flh); Mats Holmquist (cond, arr) with Teemu Mattsson, Timo Paasonen, Mikko Pettinen, Tero Saarti, Janne Toivonen, Jakob Gudmundsson (t, flh); Heikki Tuhkanene, Mikko Mustonen, Juho Viljanen (tb); Mikael Langbacka (btb); Ville Vannemaa, Mikko Makinen, Teemu Salminen, Max Zenger, Pepa Paivinen (reeds); Mikel Ulfberg (g); Seppo Kantonen (p); Juho Kivivuori (b); Markus Ketola (d). Helsinki, Finland, 15-16 March 2018.
MAMA Records 1056