header image 2

Michael Brecker

April 23rd, 2008 · No Comments

Michael Brecker was absolutely the most influential saxophone player for the last thirty five years. That is saying a lot but I think it’s definitely still an understatement. He was on top of his artistry and constantly improving and moving forward when in a concert in Japan in 2004 he experienced a great pain in his back. Shortly thereafter in 2005, he was diagnosed with the blood disorder myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). Despite a widely-publicized worldwide search, Brecker was unable to find a matching stem cell donor. In late 2005, he was the recipient of an experimental partial matching stem cell transplant. As of late 2006 he was recovering, but it proved not to be a cure for him. Brecker made his final public performance on June 23rd 2006, playing with Herbie Hancock at Carnegie Hall. Sadly, he passed away in January of 2007 from leukemia.

When I first heard Michael it was the early 70’s and the album was the first Brecker Brothers album. I thought I had died and gone to heaven because for the first time here was a tenor player who, like myself, did not grow up listening to be bop or jazz in general. What I heard was what I heard in my head, jazz being played on the tenor sax that reflected a musical upbringing that was R&B, Rock & Roll. I was totally stoked, not only did I get that from Michael but also on that same record was a young alto player named David Sanborn. Wow!

I love Michael’s whole approach to his music, his sound, which was totally unique, his technique which is unparalleled to this day.

Do yourself a favor and listen to anything Michael ever recorded. Go to YouTube and type in his name. Be prepared for greatness!

All musicians, not just saxophone players, will be learning from him for many years to come.

R.I.P. Michael Brecker

Here is a clip from his quindectet in Japan

He was totally and completely ridiculous! I mean that in a good way. I can’t help but laugh when I hear him play. He was unbelievable! Be sure to check out his last album, Pilgrimage.

Here he is playing “Delta Blues” all by himself. Let me assure you, the multi phonic sounds he gets out of his horn are difficult as all hell to pull off and they are completely intentional. Those sounds are basically, playing chords on the saxophone. To be able to play those at will is one small indicator of the control this man had over his horn. Totally awesome!

Tags: Life in B flat

0 responses so far ↓

  • There are no comments yet...Kick things off by filling out the form below.

Leave a Comment