Friday, July 8, 2011

Michael Brecker Giant of the Saxophone

Okay, beboppers, hardboppers, trane followers and just straighahead lovers.
Today Im blogging about one of my favorite players Michael Brecker.
March 29, 1949 – January 13, 2007 RIP

As a player of pure energy, unbridled creativity, harmonic complexity and originality there are few tenor players, nonetheless musicians who brought as much pure energy to the art of improvisation. As a young player in the early 80's I first heard Brecker with the Brecker Brothers, he also was on some of the early Steely Dan albums.

For many years I use to listen to one of my good friends and teacher Skip Gales from Richmond, Va.and wonder where he got his inventiveness. Later i figured out that Skip was influenced by Brecker and Im sure he would admit it.

I listened to a recent interview with Michael on youtube and he mentioned two of my influences, the great Joe Henderson and the legendary John Coltrane.
i hear both of their influences in Michael's playing but Michael took the evolution of modern saxophone to another level. He uses chromaticism, pan diatonic harmonies and substitions without sounding like he's playing etudes. i've transcribed two choruses of his solo on Moment's Notice and I will be practicing that one for awhile. There are some good transcriptions of his solos out there. I am including a link here.

But you can also search for more stuff on 4shared.
The pdf includes one of my favorites Confirmation. its about 7-8 pages. I haven't played through it. but i did transcribe the first chorus as ear training.

Brecker worked with everybody from Steely Dan, Aerosmith, Horace Silver and even played on a bossa nova album with Elaine Elias. For years I wondered who was playing those killer solos but with elegance and taste.
Here's to one of the all time Greats