Guitarist Lenny Breau's short life (1941-1984) is a movie waiting to be made. Before his still unsolved murder, he was able to bring a new voice to the guitar by adapting country fingerpicking technique to the intricacies of modern jazz. A Breau hallmark was his highly developed ability to play bass, chords and single notes concurrently - in effect having a trio in his right hand. The newly re-released Complete Living Room Tapes, with clarinetist Brad Terry, is a 2-CD close look at Breau in peak form, circa 1979. It contains four new bonus tracks and presents a comprehensive picture of his influences and virtuosity.
Nearness finds acclaimed jazz saxophonist Joshua Redman and pianist Brad Mehldau teaming up for a set of loose yet heartfelt duo performances. Collaborators since they first began playing together in Redman's quartet in the early '90s, Mehldau and Redman have forged their own distinct solo careers. While they have continued to work together in various settings, the duo put a spotlight on their creative friendship with their 2011 tour. Nearness features live performances captured during the European leg of that tour, including tapings in Spain, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Germany, and Norway.
In the latter half of the '90s, Phil Collins' career hit a bit of a sales slump, and instead of shamelessly chasing after another number one single, he decided to change pace and try something different. Returning to the drums, he assembled the Phil Collins Big Band, reviving the sound of such idols as Buddy Rich and Sonny Payne, but largely sticking with his original material. After a brief European tour in 1996 (which happened to feature Quincy Jones as conductor and Tony Bennett as vocalist), he created a new version of the band featuring several accomplished jazz and studio musicians in support – notably alto saxophonist Gerald Albright, but also guitarist Daryl Stuermer, tenor saxophonist James Carter, and pianists George Duke and Brad Cole, among many others, in varying roles.