This is an archive article.

The concert held at the Cerritos Center February 2005 was the first and only time I had the great opportunity to see the legendary Michael Brecker perform live. Being an avid Brecker listener, I really looked forward to attending this concert and I was not disappointed with the amazing performance.

The performance was part of the tour for the “Directions in Music” album, and if you are interested in hearing the fantastic music performed that night, the recording is called “Directions in Music: Live at Massey Hall” (the link is below). Because it was the tour supporting this album, it wasn’t just Michael Brecker performing that night. In addition to getting to see Brecker play, I also had the chance to see Roy Hargrove and Herbie Hancock perform. I was completely blown away by the level of playing I heard that night.

As far as Michael Brecker’s playing – he is absolutely amazing. My absolute favorite part of the entire night was when he played EWI alone. He used a computer to save these little two to four bar ideas he was playing and then would loop them. He ended up creating this awesome funk chart that had people dancing in their seats. He ended the piece by using an electric guitar sound on his EWI, soloing over the other parts he played.

Another cool thing Brecker did was whenever he soloed. He would play a line, pause at the end and then play a new line. In result, his solos were extremely well thought out and I was even more impressed than if he had just played crazy line after crazy line nonstop. It inspired me to rethink a lot of my playing at the time and helped me to quit “meandering” over the changes when I solo-ed.

I really enjoyed this concert and I so happy that I had the opportunity to see Michael Brecker perform live.

Get the album:

Directions in Music: Live at Massey Hall

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Published by Shannon Kennedy

Shannon Kennedy is a vocalist and saxophonist living in Southern California. She is author of "The Album Checklist" and the founder of Teen Jazz. She has been contributing articles to music magaizines and websites since 2004.

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