Michael Brecker Live Report

Osaka Blue Note, the 2nd set,Feb.26th,2000

Michael Brecker(tenor sax),
Larry Goldings(organ),
Adam Rogers(guitar),
Idris Muhhamad(ds)

Tonight's second set was not only the last set of the night, but their last set in Osaka. Having been sold out, there wasn't an empty seat in the house. The deep-rooted popularity of Michael Brecker has been still strong here in Japan. This was his first Japan tour after his latest album "Time is of the Essence" that had been recorded without the assistance of a bass player. The band featured the same instruments as the album.
The most noteworthy feature of the show was that they performed without a bass player as well. The organist, Larry Goldings covered the base part with his left hand. And the experienced drummer, Idris Muhhamad, who had released his leader albums from CTI in the 1970's created funky , R&B type of music unlikedrummers such as Jeff Watts and Adam Nasbaum, who used to play with the Michael Brecker Band, attracting attention with their powerful, firm and definitive beat. The way Idris Muhhamad plays is in high contrast to their playing.

The show started with the song "Arc Of The Pendulum", that is also the first tune on their latest album. It gave the same mellow impression as the album. Michael played at his ease in loose rhythm created by the rhythm section. The playing left something to be desired for the audience but Michael himself seemed to be playing in a relaxed mood with a smile. It was impressive in a way compared with his usual tense style. He'd been playing with bands that had more aggressive rhythm sections such as "Steps", "Brecker Brothers Band", and his own band for a long time. So this time, he might have wanted to play his saxophone more freely on such looser rhythm section with more free space for him.

Two new songs from the latest album followed. His usual powerful rendition, up-tempo improvisation, appeared at the end of the 2nd tune. The third one "Renaissance Man" was a kind of bluesy tune and Idris Muhhamad's rhythm pattern and Adam Rogers'unexpected funky backing guitar playing that is different from Pat Metheny's, were very effective and matching nicely with this tune. Michael was as terrific as ever when playing this type of funky tune.

Adam Rogers joined this tour instead of Pat Metheny who worked on "Time Is Of The Essence". Pat created an integrated sound in the album but Adam created an impressive clearer and heavier sound. His technique is amazing but a little hard on the ears. He performed his fleet-fingered runs, and produced a deep funky sound. As for the formation of each phrase, if he can integrate it better, he will be an asset to this band for future.

In a change of pace, Michael and Larry Goldings started the next tune "Round Midnight", composed by Thelonius Monk and made a jazz standard by Miles Davis. Their rendition had a misty feeling. The last song was " Song For Biblo " composed by Pat Metheny, from the album "Tales From The Hudson". There was no encore but the show itself lasted for more than one and a half hours. It was a great live performance.

Michael Brecker Discography (from CDNow)
written by Masato Hashi
translated by Yasuko Tokuyama
copyright 2000 by CyberFusion