Somebody recently posted this wonderful clinic conducted by the late great saxophonist Michael Brecker on youtube. I’ve always loved Brecker’s playing and I am forever thankful that I was fortunate enough to witness him live 1999. I was really happy to find these clips and learn more about who he was away from the bandstand…
Michael talks about his musical journey and early influences. He describes about his investigations into the Blues idiom and the influence that guitar players had on his career.
In part 2 Michael expands on the specific way he was influenced by guitar players. He talks about his attitudes and approach towards transcription. He stresses the importance of time and rhythm, which he demonstrates by jumping behind the drum set and accompanying the student ensemble through a few choruses of blues. Personally, I find it refreshing to see somebody as harmonically advanced as Brecker stressing the importance of time and rhythm.
In part 3, Brecker describes his private studies in composition. He then moves on to describe his experiences playing with the Saturday Night Live band, who he was working with at the time. He also discusses his work with Steps Ahead and his attitudes towards electronic music. Although he doesn’t specify, I am certain that he was working on the Steps Ahead album Modern Times during this particular time period.
In this final segment, Brecker leads off by discussing his practice techniques. Some of the topics he covers include: working with a metronome, arpeggios, working with records, and journaling. He also talks about his experiences playing with Pat Metheny, James Taylor, and David Sanborn.