San Diego Saxophone Lessons

San Diego Saxophone Lessons
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Monday, January 21, 2013

Dexter to Brecker

I’d heard from several teachers that Dexter Gordon was a huge influence on Michael Brecker’s sound, and one of Brecker's earliest influences.  In terms of Brecker’s lineage, most people would guess the obvious: Coltrane, Joe Henderson, and probably guys like Joe Farrell, etc.  I never understood the direct connection from Dexter to Brecker until it finally hit me when listening to “Sophisticated Giant” (1977, Columbia):

This was one of those later Dexter albums that I’d heard, but most likely skimmed over in my youth… Going back and listening to this track, it became obvious how much of Brecker’s concept of tone was borrowed straight from Dex, especially in ballad settings. Also, on this cut, Dexter sounds very modern with a lot of top-end in his sound.  At 1:18, the link is really clear between the two (the rhythm-section arrangement in that section helps too – sounds very '90s-ish).

 Just for fun, check out Kevin Mahogany’s “Laura” - backed by a band of Michael Brecker, Mehldau, Grenadier, and Hutch:


Also, on this next clip from “The Nearness Of You”, you can hear a little Dexter - especially in the way Brecker approaches the notes around 1:55-2:10:

I'm sure there might be some better examples around, but I've been watching so much YouTube my eyes are getting cloudy!


Peter August said...

Hey Ian! Those are some awesome clips. I'm a huge Dexter and Brecker fan, and definitely hear the influence. One of the things I love about Brecker is the unique combination of jazz masters, his peers, and his own ingenuity that have gone into shaping his sound. Here's another clip that has a bit of a "Dexter" vibe to me:

Ian Tordella said...

Holy cow! Burning clip, Peter. I remember watching that very video on VHS when I was at North Texas.

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