At 1981 Michael Brecker and his brother decided to take a break from The Brecker Brothers, since they finished six albums for Arista label, so their contract was fulfilled. In four years Steps recorded six albums. Steps started as an acoustic quintet, but evolved into fusion band called Steps Ahead. Michael Brecker started exploring possibilities of Akai EWI (Electronic Wind Instrument), synthesizer powered by wind that has wide range of sounds. During eighties Michael Brecker became one of the most in-demand session and concert jazz-musician. George Benson, Herbie Hancock, Chet Baker, John Lennon, Freddie Hubbard, Tony Williams, Dave Brubeck, Don Cherry, Joni Mitchell, Jaco Pastorius, Pat Metheny, Bruce Springsteen, Frank Zappa, Chick Corea, Horace Silver, Quincy Jones, and Charles Mingus (to name just a few) all wanted Michael Brecker on their records and concerts (famous 1979 Joni Mitchel tour for Shadows & Light album that included Pat Metheny and Jaco Pastorius).
Finally in 1987 Michael Brecker felt it was a time to make his first solo debut as a leader. At the age of 36, Michael Brecker signed a contract with Impulse! and recorded Michael Brecker album. Recording band consisted of Pat Metheny, Charlie Haden, Jack DeJohnette and Kenny Kirkland. Downbeat and Jazziz magazines voted this recording as "Jazz Album of the Year&, and it was nominated for two Grammy Awards. Michael Brecker’s first solo album held number one position on Billboard's Jazz Chart for 21 weeks. Since he wanted to go on tour, it was difficult for him to make a decision on leaving Steps Ahead, but it was the only way.
biography of Michael Brecker
"Playing with Horace (Silver) was like a university of Jazz for me. It was my first real experience playing night after night in a club or concert situation. Horace taught me a lot; he was a great band leader, obviously one of the great Jazz pianists and composers. He taught me how to build solos, how to say things in a shorter time."