Michael Brecker is one of the greatest saxophonists to arise after John Coltrane. Like Trane, he took the instrument places it had never gone before, adding new fingerings, effects, and extended techniques that made him seem like more than a man…
That’s the word that comes to mind when I think of Michael Brecker. What kind of normal human being could possibly play that fast or with such intensity?! Mike was a different animal and that certainly comes off in every solo he takes.
So how did he do it?
How did he push the boundaries so far? How did he elevate the notion of what’s possible on the saxophone?
Well, it’s no secret. He practiced endlessly, studied his heroes, and put his own spin on everything, always thinking creatively and aiming to hone his craft every single day.
He was the first to tell you that he learned from the recordings of the great saxophonists, notably John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, and Joe Henderson, as well as others like Stanley Turrentine and Johnny Griffin. He knew the whole history of his instrument.
And he didn’t stop there…
Mike studied the solos of great electric guitarists and even played other instruments than his own, in fact, he was quite the drummer.
He constantly sought new and different influences, which contributed to his unique approach.
Okay, so we know that Mike was more dedicated than ever, that he rarely put the horn down, but let’s get to the real question – With such an advanced player, what can we possibly learn from them??
I mean, when you see the types of lines that this guy plays written out, you’re bound to scratch your head a bit.
Major thirds on minor chords. Major ...