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Michael Brecker

A remarkable technician and a highly influential tenor saxophonist (the biggest influence on other tenors since Wayne Shorter), Michael Brecker took a long time before getting around to recording his first solo album. He spent much of his career as a top-notch studio player who often appeared backing pop singers, leading some jazz listeners to overlook his very strong improvising skills.

Brecker originally started on clarinet and alto before switching to tenor in high school. Early on, he played with rock- and R&B-oriented bands. In 1969, he moved to New York and soon joined Dreams, an early fusion group. Brecker was with Horace Silver during 1973-1974, gigged with Billy Cobham, and then co-led the Brecker Brothers (a commercially successful funk group) with his brother, trumpeter Randy Brecker, for most of the 1970s. He was with Steps (later Steps Ahead) in the early '80s, doubled on an EWI (electronic wind instrument), and made a countless number of studio sessions during the 1970s and '80s, popping up practically everywhere (including with James Taylor, Yoko Ono, and Paul Simon).

With the release of his first album as a leader in 1987 (when he was already 38), Brecker started appearing more often in challenging jazz settings. He recorded additional sets as a leader (in 1988 and 1990), teamed up with McCoy Tyner on one of 1995's most rewarding jazz recordings, and toured with a reunited Brecker Brothers band. Two Blocks from the Edge followed in 1998, and a year later Brecker returned with Time Is of the Essence. The early 2000s saw the release of Nearness of You: The Ballad Book and Wide Angles in 2001 and 2003, respectively.

However, after experiencing some mysterious back pain during a concert in 2005, Brecker was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), a cancer of the blood marrow. A failed search for a matching bone marrow donor eventually led to an experimental partially matching blood stem cell transplant via his daughter in late 2005. He passed away on January 13, 2007. Brecker's final album, Pilgrimage, featuring pianists Herbie Hancock and Brad Mehldau, guitarist Pat Metheny, bassist John Patitucci, and drummer Jack DeJohnette, was, ironically, his first of all-original material. It was released a few months after his passing. ~ Scott Yanow, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

What a lose to the music world but we should all be so blessed to make that kind of contribution
Still miss this giant ... the music lives
WOW this was a major loss the the music world Jan 13, 2007. IRP one great playr!
Genius...the world lost this amazing talent too soon...
jepbizmac
Insane. As good as it gets.
Don't read this because it really works. U will be kissed by the love of your life on the nearest possible Friday. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. But if u don't post this u will die in two days. Now u have started reading so don't stop. Put this on at least 5 songs in 143 minutes and when done press f6 and your lovers name will appear on the screen in big letters. It's scary b/c it works.
jamaabdullah i 1 8
Don't read this because it really works. U will be kissed by the love of your life on the nearest possible Friday. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. But if u don't post this u will die in two days. Now u have started reading so don't stop. Put this on at least 5 songs in 143 minutes and when done press f6 and your lovers name will appear on the screen in big letters. It's scary b/c it works.
dpbass66
..my last comment was supposed to say since John Coltrane....
dpbass66
..no...the biggest influence on other tenors since , would be more accurate. Moreover, he has influenced those on other instruments as much.
Yes that is Pat Metheny
is that pat metheny on guitar here?
Do not miss his amazing performance on Zappa in New York. Also, Don't Try This at Home is a great record too.
sykesrobert5 1
Without all the fancy and cerebral descriptives , I just know what I like. If it makes me tap my foot then it's all the groove I need. The cats that play with that blend of contemporary mixed with just the right amount of old school traditional flavor is the perfect recipe for my tastes. Don't that feel good!!
Michael's playing constitutes the beginning of contemporary jazz tenor sax playing, that which is defined historically , but emulated through a richly complex, diverse, and technically enormous template. He, more than any other contemporary sax player (other than perhaps Chris Potter, at times), makes me exclaim in that way that I know most of the cats who are reading this right now (being that the majority of the people who know who brecker is are part of that dying sub-culture that we all are d
mjc_records
Michael IS the BEST!!! He will always remain alive in his playing and song. RIP my fellow music brother...
michael is playin'"fore v e r " in all our hearts!
Still one of the best shows and best bands I've ever been to. Mindblowing.
jojoscot47
Michael's performance on "Skylark" remains one of my favorites. A gifted musician whose passing left a rich legacy. Play on Micheal
donthe1bell
MICHAEL WILL ALWAYS BE ALIVE FOR ME!!
Oh yeah! I head him live at Ballard Firehouse here in Seattle in 1985 and later one of our local radio played a recording of it - which I recorded! Wow his solo on "Nothing Personal" was sooo awesome I would tear up listening to it! You know live they really crank it on!
ok. michael is the baaad sax. always wondered...
this sounds like james taylor
serrato10
I started playing jazzy stuff in my high school jazz band. When I first heard Michael playing a solo on one of Billy Cobham's early albums I immediately said, Who's that?! I was blown away by his technique. I've been a devoted follower ever since. I mourn his early passing.
Can't live without him!
bogaloo
Another gone, only 2-blocks from the "Jazz Edge"!
mauirob69
The first time I saw Mike & Randy Brecker was at Saratoga Performing Arts Center in New York.(1977-N e w p o r t Jazz Fest)They were in an all star band that had Roy Haynes, Tony Williams, Bob Crenshaw, Herbie Hancock, Jean Luc Ponty, Larry Coryell, George Benson, Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, Dexter Gordon, Al Jarreau and Dee Dee Bridgewater. George Wein(produce r ) said, "You are seeing history tonight folks, you'll probably never see the likes of a lineup like this again!" Lord, have mercy...
I saw Michael in Scottsdale, AZ in the late 80's when he was using the EWI. I had already switched to alto from tenor but his playing made me switch back. I will forever be a tenor man because of Michael Brecker! His loss is indeed profound but his legacy will live forever.
donthe1bell
I met michael here in l.a. ca. where I got to speak with him concerning technique... . . . . . . . he was also a great teacher in a few words he changed my aproach to the saxophone forever!!!
THANK YOU MR. BRECKER
Excellent! WoW! Toe Tappin style jazz! Thanx you Michael for sharing your talents with us.
The whole reason I wanted to be a musician.
I never heard anyone else who could do James Taylor to my liking. What an amazing artist. What a terrible loss.
Still missing you Michael...an d now I find 'Time Is Of The Essence'.... f o r e v e r grateful for the music you so freely gave.....
I had the good fortune to be in the audience when Mr. Brecker played "Half Past Late" with his wife seated front and center...As I recall his comments prior to that performance it resonates loud and clear in his playing how grateful he was for his life in music and his family...I loved the Brecker Brothers, saw brother Randy many times and will forever miss Michael but he leaves a grand legacy...no one can touch his passionate style.
Melodic and challenging, which is a tough balance. I was lucky enough to see him live in a club setting and tell him I was a fan. The loss is profound.

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