This odd anthology from Atlantic reissues selections from trio dates recorded during the 1960s by Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea, and Herbie Hancock, along with otherwise unobtainable early recordings by McCoy Tyner. Jarrett is joined by Charlie Haden and Paul Motian on two originals, both of which show the obvious influence of Bill Evans. Chick Corea is accompanied by Steve Swallow (on acoustic bass rather than the electric bass he switched to a short time later) and Joe Chambers. The pianist's "Tones for Joan's Bones" is swinging, but not nearly as driving as his works in the decades to follow, while his reworking of the show tune "This Is New" features Joe Farrell and Woody Shaw; both tracks also show the influence of Bill Evans.
It seems only fitting that the initial new release on the latest revival of the Impulse label features McCoy Tyner and Michael Brecker. When Impulse started out in 1960, John Coltrane and Tyner were the first artists to be signed, and when Impulse was briefly brought back by MCA in the 1980s, two of its most important albums were recordings by Brecker. There are not a lot of surprises on this quartet matchup (with bassist Avery Sharpe and drummer Aaron Scott) except perhaps for how well Tyner and Brecker mesh together.
For Now You See It…Now You Don't, Michael Brecker's third recording as a leader, the tenor great used different personnel on most of the selections but played consistently well. Jim Beard's synthesizers were utilized for atmosphere, to set up a funky groove, or to provide a backdrop for the leader. Some of the music sounds like updated John Coltrane (Joey Calderazzo's McCoy Tyner-influenced piano helps), while other pieces could almost pass for Weather Report, if Wayne Shorter rather than Joe Zawinul had been the lead voice. Most of the originals (either by Brecker, Beard, or producer Don Grolnick) project moods rather than feature strong melodies, but Michael Brecker's often-raging tenor makes the most of each opportunity.
During his years on Milestone, McCoy Tyner had the opportunity to record in a variety of settings with many of his favorite players. For this disc the innovative pianist is featured with quite an all-star crew: trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, flutist Hubert Laws, Bennie Maupin on tenor and bass clarinet, vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson, Stanley Clarke (in a rare appearance at the time on acoustic bass), drummer Jack DeJohnette and percussionist Bill Summers. In addition to a pair of Tyner's originals, songs were contributed by Laws, DeJohnette, Hutcherson and Hubbard ("One Of Another Kind"). The music is essentially high-quality advanced modal hard bop and each of the sidemen get their opportunities to be showcased.