Welcome to Breakdown, an unofficial resource and discussion list about the innovative guitarist/producer Michael Brook. This site is infrequently updated, but contains a great deal of background info which will remain online. For up-to-date news and information, visit Michael Brook's official site and MySpace page.

Live tour dates and concert reviews

The Big Top stage, Marymoor Park
Redmond, Washington
31 July & 1 August 1999
by Marcel Dion

I'm very pleased to be among the first to report that the first concert appearance of this ensemble was a resounding success for devotees and neophytes alike.

The heat of the tent and the extraneous noises drifting in from other stages failed to distract the audience from attention this concert deserved. Michael announced at the start that this was the first concert of this group "in the history of the universe". It was obvious from the beginning that these musicians have tremendous respect for each other. As you can well imagine, the flow was not always smooth but the difficulties were more than made up for by the visual signals, cues and impromptu humorous moments.

The Concerts I & II that we saw in Redmond are undoubtedly very similar in content to the SF show Charly describes. There is not a lot more I can add to Charly`s hearty recommendation that the tour should be attended wherever it can be found.


A solo piece each by Djivan and by Michael (Ultramarine) augmented the material from their Black Rock recording. The solos were entrancing as they were moving. Suddenly no one noticed the sounds from the other stages nearby.

The foursome really came together on the rocking piece "Take My Heart" with Richard Evans handling the bass. At other, quieter times in the concert, the drummer, Jason Lewis, seemed somewhat underworked. Richard Evans takes subtle control of the "programming" and multi-instrumental support. The communication between the four of them made up for the technical glitches of a first time performance.

Michael Brook's interactions with the audience were as witty as they were brief. Djivan Gasparyan's vocals exuded all the warmth evident in his duduk performances. This warmth also came through in his armstretched acknowledgements of the affection returning from the audience.

While neither concert could have been much more than an hour (mostly due to the fact that they had no prepared "encore" piece), the second seemed more relaxed and smooth.

From my perspective, the second show was definitely much less crowded, therefore the tent had lower temperature and somewhat more audience motion and dance.

Having seen Michael Brook's solo performance of Cobalt Blue material in Edmonton on Dec 10/92, these performances were a gripping revelation of a renewed Michael Brook, enriched over the years by interaction with several master musicians. Much water has flowed under that Shona Bridge.

A poignant moment for me was noticing the members of the Rizwan-Muazam Qawwali Group (a group descended from the same family tree as Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan) taking in the Saturday performance from side stage. I'm sure it must have meant a lot to Michael to know they were there.