40 Michael Brecker Licks

I have written out 40 great Michael Brecker licks that I have picked up and used over the years.  Last week I cleaned them up and numbered them so they are easier to read.  I give these out to my more advanced students who want to start getting into this stuff.  I went through a stage in the late 80’s and early 90’s where I was consumed with Michael Brecker. I had never heard a tenor player with such authority or command of the horn. I’m sad that he is gone.  He has left an incredible legacy with all his recordings. I’ll always be grateful for the impact and influence he has had on my life.

These licks can be used in a variety of ways. Most of them are just plain chromatic patterns, some are over a minor tonality, some outline more of a 3 tonic kind of approach(Giant Steps…). I usually will talk with  students in person on how to use these but for all of you out there in cyber-space I have created some video lesson to talk about how to use these in your own playing.  You can find the lessons at my Neffmusic Lesson Store. These are great to get under your fingers. I hope you like them.  If you want to get more into the Brecker style of playing I would recommend buying as many recordings as you can of him. Hal Leonard also has a few transcription books out of his solos.  There are also some great sites out there with free transcriptions that you can find if you search around for them.   Steve

To get the 40 Brecker licks for FREE, you can just sign up for my Neffmusic mailing list on the top left of this site.  You will then receive an email with a link to download the PDF shortly afterward.   Enjoy!

Steve About Steve

Steve Neff has been playing and teaching saxophone and jazz improvisation around the New England area for the last 30 years. He is the author of many effective jazz improvisation methods as well as founding the popular jazz video lesson site Neffmusic.com.


  1. Avatar Hans Baier says

    Where are the licks?
    Cant find them on the page

    • Hi Hans, The plugin that handled downloads is broke for some reason. I put the 40 Brecker links in my mailing list sign up form so if you sign up for the mailing list at the top left of the page you will get an email with a link to the PDF. Thanks, Steve

  2. Can you please send me the brecker file? Thanks

  3. Avatar Andres Galllego says

    Can you please send me the brecker file? Thanks

  4. Avatar Scott Taylor says

    Hi, Steve;

    First of all, thanks for doing the leg work on Brecker. I was skeptical at first when I downloaded the file because they just looked like chromatic sequences…then I realized that was the point. I’m guessing you took some common Brecker four note groupings and extended them for study? Regardless, they sound cool and are a great workout. Thanks again for the effort!

    Scott (aka Neobard, SOTW)

  5. Avatar Ashim Bohara says

    I have signed up for the mailing list. Can I get the brecker file please?

    • You should have received an email in response to signing up. In the email is a link to download the Brecker licks……..Let me know if you didn’t get it. (Make sure you check your spam and junk folder also as sometimes the emails go there……)

  6. Avatar Fred dubousquet says

    i would like get 40 Brecker links for free…
    Thanks a lot


    Can you please send me the brecker file? Thanks

    • Jean Pierre, You can get the files by signing up for the Neffmusic mailing list. A link comes through email afterwards so you can download the licks. Steve

  8. Avatar Mariano Mauro says

    Can you please send me the file? Thanks a lot

    • Mariano,
      You can get the 40 Brecker licks when you sign up for my Neffmusic Newsletter. You get an email with a link on it to download them. Thanks, Steve

  9. Avatar NumbernWen says


  10. I would like the 40 Michael Breacker licks pdf. Bb , thanks alot

    • Morris, To get the 40 Brecker licks you just have to sign up for the newsletter and then you get sent a link to download them. Thanks, Steve

  11. Hi Steve ,
    I have joined up to the mailing list but not received the Brecker licks..
    I have the mastering the Bebop dominant scale book of yours .. very good .

  12. Hello Steve, i would like get 40 Brecker links. Can you pleas send file to me. Thank you.

  13. Avatar jerry jones says

    looking for 40 licks…….thanks

  14. Avatar Joseph Dearani says

    HI Steve,

    Happy Thanksgiving. Really love all the stuff you put out there. I was hoping to view the Brecker licks…have signed up but still not able to do. Happy T to you and your family.


  15. Hi Steve,

    i laready signed up for quite some tiime on your newsletter. However i havent received the Brecker likcks yet. Could you send them to me please?
    Many many thanks for this!

    cheers Jeroen

  16. Hi Steve, i would like get 40 Brecker licks.
    Would you send the file to me, please?. Thank you.

  17. Can I get the licks as well or are they on the site somewhere that I did not find, by the way happy new year to you. Vinny

  18. Hi Steve, i can’t sign up to the list. there’re a problem with the webpage.
    How i can get the filewith licks?

    • Hi Antonio,
      Not sure why you had a problem, I put your email in and it accepted it fine on my end. You should have received the Brecker licks by now. Enjoy!

  19. Avatar Teboho Motsiri says

    Hi Steve

    I have just subscribed in mailing list could you please send me the licks. Thanks


    • Teboho, they should have been sent automatically. A link should be in the email you received confirming your joining the mailing list………..

  20. Hi, I tried to subscribe but the page of the security code crashes every time i try, how can i get the licks?

    • Matt.
      I put your email into the subscribe box and then entered the CAPTCHA code and it worked fine for me. You should be getting an email with a link to download the Brecker licks shortly. I’m not sure what you were experiencing or why. Sorry for that. Steve

  21. Hi Steve. Thanks for the Brecker Licks. I have had them for some time and have been working on them as well as my own stuff. Do you recommend to your students to transpose them into all keys? Obviously the chromatic ones should just be ok because they can be stopped and started at will. But what about the others. Just curious.

    • Hi Ross,
      Transposing is up to you. I would certainly consider that for the lines you really love! The chromatic lines don’t need to be transposed but I would make sure you practice those throughout the entire range of the horn. Steve

  22. Hi Steve, i would like get 40 Brecker licks.
    Would you send the file to me, please?. God bless you

  23. Avatar Charles Spellen says

    Hi Steve and fellow Brecker admirers,
    This is a great initiative with the Brecker licks.
    What is the possibility of relating them to a chord reference? For example what chords do I play lick 1 over?
    Looking forward to any comments or help on this perspective.
    Charles in the Brazilian Amazon.

    • Charles, I have made some video lessons where I do teach where and how to use these licks. They are called The Style of Michael Brecker Lessons and I believe they are Lessons 3-6 of that series. Steve

  24. Steve, I like your site alot. Signed up to your mailing list. Would be great to receive the Brecker licks. Thank you, Christoph

  25. I never received my link to the file for signing up either for some reason.

  26. Avatar steven koskowitz says

    hey, I would like to have those Breckerism in C . All the best

  27. Just signed up Can’t wait to get my Free 40 Brecker Licks!

  28. Hi Steve, could you send me that 40 Brecker Licks?
    Have a good day


    • David, you get them emailed to you when you sign up for the mailing list on the right hand column of the site. Steve

  29. Hi, Steve!could you send me 40 Brecker licks, please?
    Have a nice day!)
    Thank you.

    • Den, you get a link to download them for free when you sign up for my newsletter. Just click on newsletter in the menu at the top of the page.


  31. Avatar mike barry says

    How do I play faster?

    • Mike, I hate to say it, but the only way to play faster is repetitive daily practice. I have my students practice loops with a metronome. One of the first loops I give young students is GABCDCBA. You repeat these 8 notes over and over with a metronome. Most young students have trouble going from C to D cleanly and evenly so this loop helps to overcome that. You put on a metronome and start slowly playing this at a tempo that is perfectly clean and even with no articulation. Over time you increase the metronome speed and slowly get faster and faster while still remaining even and clean.

      An important part of this practice is only having enough tension in the hand to effectively play the loop and no more. Many students think that the harder they try (more tension) the faster they will go. This increased tension actually slows you down and over time will likely cause hand and arm issues for you. I have a whole video lesson on this subject: https://www.neffmusic.com/blog/product/developing-fast-fingers-lesson/ Good luck! Steve

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