Michael Brecker has been one of my main influences on the tenor saxophone since my first year of college in 1985. I was hanging out in someone one dorm room and they put on an album that totally blew me away. I believe it was the first Steps Ahead album. I had never heard it before and the sax player blew me away. I asked who it was and the person answered “Michael Brecker”. I remember they were astonished that I had never hear of Brecker. I was only an alto sax player up to that point in my life but soon after that I bought a tenor and started practicing to Michael Brecker albums. I bought everyone I could find at the local record store. I remember buying all the Steps Ahead stuff. A Mike Nock album, a Jony Mitchell album with Jacco on it and the first Michael Brecker album that he did. I had no idea what he was playing but I loved it. That was a long long time ago and I have done a lot of shedding since then. Enough to understand some of the lines and concepts that I couldn’t way back then.
In this lesson I talk about 6 Michael Brecker type lines that he would use on a minor chord. I have taken the lines from different solos of his and transposed them to the keys of D minor and E minor. Brecker had a playing style that was so hip. He would play these intense lines that would weave in and out of the tonality and really catch your attention. As I play through these lines with a backing track, I talk about how I think about the lines and the thought process I go through to try to learn from Brecker’s recordings. I show you what kind of things I do to figure out the thinking behind the lines and how I try to take that and then create my own lines. I play the examples from the D minor PDF on tenor sax. I hope this lesson will help you get a little bit closer to playing those Brecker type lines that were and are so hip. (27 minute video lesson with PDF)
Just stumbled upon your site and bought your Brecker immediately. I am a pro alto and guitarist in Philly, and I feel like I have a lot under my fingers, but always wanted to get that chromatic Breckerish/later Coltranish thing down. I was always more of a Bird/older bebop style player, but now I feel like I have a much deeper understanding of the more modern thang, which I know I will be able to get into my playing almost immediately. Thanks so much, you are a Beast!!!!
Jeff Howlett –
I’m a reasonably advanced tenor player and, like many others, a long-standing admirer of Michael Brecker’s work.
I’d just like to say that your conceptual approach to analyzing Brecker’s improvising style has opened a whole new window of understanding for me.
I have pretty much all of the available transcriptions of Brecker’s solos and have spent many hours attempting to analyze his methods. I’m not interested in learning his solos note for note because (apart from the fact that I couldn’t technically play much of what he does) I want to sound like me and not like him.
However, I would like to play in the style of the great man and I can see that your ideas will help me in that.
Many thanks for your invaluable work, and I look forward to downloading more of your online lessons in the future. But first, I intend to absorb the Brecker material.