Here’s another great Michael Brecker tenor saxophone solo transcription I am excited to share with everyone. This is a transcription of Michael Brecker’s insane tenor sax solo on the jazz standard, “Invitation” from the Jaco Pastorius’ album “The Birthday Concert” (this is not the Invitation solo from Jack Wilkins album “Merge”). The Jaco Pastorius “Birthday Concert” album was recorded live in 1981 but wasn’t released until 1995.
Jaco Pastorius “The Birthday Concert”
Michael Brecker’s solo on this jazz standard, Invitation, is just ridiculous in my mind. First of all, you have the tempo. Peter Erskine and Jaco Pastorius start this tune off in the ballpark of 172-176 bpm. When Michael Brecker comes in for his tenor solo, in typical Michael Brecker fashion it is mostly all 16th notes. Michael Brecker just crushes this solo! I love the energy and interplay between Brecker and Jaco. Michael Brecker is usually high energy to begin with but when you add Jaco’s incredibly energetic bass lines it just pushes Brecker into maximum overdrive. (I really feel bad for Bob Mintzer who had to take the solo after Brecker. I mean, Bob Mintzer does great, but I have to wonder what he was thinking while listening to Brecker solo………)
One interesting observation while working on this transcription is that there is some weirdness to the form of the tune during the solo. Pages 1-3 is a typical chorus of Invitation. On page 4 however, the band goes back to the top of the head but then Jaco sounds like he is going to the ending again during those 16 bars of that A section. Bars 9-16 has just Jaco playing the bass line behind Brecker and it seems a bit odd to me. Almost like Brecker is hesitant and is not sure where Jaco is going. I don’t know if this was planned, a mistake, or maybe just too many drugs taken before the concert. It did throw me for a loop while transcribing though as there is an extra 16 bars added to the form right there in the solo.
Insane Michael Brecker Invitation Tenor Sax Solo from the Jaco Birthday Concert
Sadly, Michael Brecker and Jaco Pastorius are no longer with us. Jaco died in 1987 as a result of injuries sustained in a beating outside a South Florida after-hours nightclub (this still makes me so mad every time I think about it). Michael Brecker died in 2007 from leukemia. Both of these incredibly gifted musicians had a lasting and profound impact on the landscapes of the saxophone world and the electric bass world.
Thanks again to Michael Brecker. It’s hard to believe he has been gone for almost 15 years already. His contributions to music and as a person are still having a lasting impact on those he interacted with and influenced as well as all those who have yet to hear his great recordings in the future. We miss you!
If you have any thoughts on Michael Brecker, Jaco Pastorius or this transcription of Brecker’s Invitation solo, I would love to hear from you in the comments below. Steve
Insane Michael Brecker Invitation Tenor Sax Solo Transcription from Jaco Birthday Concert-Bb PDF
Insane Michael Brecker Invitation Tenor Sax Solo Transcription from Jaco Birthday Concert-Concert Key PDF
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If you like these type of outside modern sounding lines like I do, be sure to check out my Devastating Lines for Jazz and Funk Soloing for Minor and Dominant Grooves. These two books are filled with great modern 16th note lines like Michael Brecker demonstrates in this solo in all 12 keys that you can learn and use while soloing. Check out all the 5 star reviews! Steve
Devastating Minor Lines for Jazz and Funk Soloing
Brecker went to rehab right after this concert. I didn’t know he had a drug problem. He was a big proponent of getting many great players clean and sober! Thanks for sharing this amazing solo.
At the memorial service at Town Hall they played a video of James Taylor expressing gratitude to Mike for helping him get off of heroin. In those days, it was less likely you’d die from fentanyl. Mike actually died from myelodysplastic syndrome (a blood cancer, ie. a form of leukemia). I was involved with getting people registered on the bone marrow registry to try to save him; my wife actually got called for a match from someone else (and saved their life!). It’s one of the best things you can do for another human being.
awesome job Steve, if I were Mintzer and had to follow Brecker I would have pretended someone got my attention from the side of the stage and slipped off….
Hahaha! Yeah, I think I might have “accidentally” fallen off the stage to get out of soloing after him…..
Here’s a bootleg of the same band playing Invitation as well. In this one Mintzer solos first……
Brian McKenna says
Steve, this is great man! I love this tune and have some North Texas State bootlegs of this song as well, of course with Brecker going nuts. Also I was down at UofM when Jaco passed and went to his memorial concert. I was standing right behind Metheny and Jaco’s mom when they first spoke of his death, sad experience for sure. Then Metheny got on stage with Peter Erskine and they completely tore it up on “All the Things You Are” Duo only. The ultimate tribute to Jaco, I will never forget it. Hope all is well my friend, gonna try to play some of these lines on piano… ha wish me luck! Cheers, Brian
Brian, Thanks for posting your comment. I would love to hear some of those bootlegs if there is a way for you to share them! Hope you and the family are well. Steve
MG Enad says
Thanks so much for working on this solo and sharing Steve, great work!
Everyone’s playing was superb in this concert, including Brecker’s other solos, but this one was beyond iconic! The tempo, the pure improv moments between Jaco & Brecker (however inspired!).