Michael Brecker
Internationally renowned tenor saxophonist and composer Michael Brecker – an 11-time Grammy Award winner – died of leukemia on January 13 at age 57. Brecker was afflicted with MDS, myelodysplastic syndrome, a bone marrow disorder.

As a result of his harmonic and stylistic innovations, Brecker was the most studied contemporary instrumentalist in music schools throughout the world. During his acclaimed career, Brecker delighted millions through recordings and performances with a virtual "Who's Who" of jazz and pop giants including Herbie Hancock, Paul Simon, Quincy Jones, Joni Mitchell, Wynton Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, Aretha Franklin, Parliament Funkadelic, James Taylor, Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton, Pat Metheny, Aerosmith, George Benson, Frank Sinatra, David Sanborn, Chris Botti, Rick James, Frank Zappa, Harry Connick, James Brown, Dave Grusin, Ringo Starr, Steely Dan, Dave Brubeck, John Lennon, Lou Reed, Michael Bolton, Carly Simon, Chick Corea, McCoy Tyner, Billy Joel and Elton John.

Although he was very sick, Brecker completed a final album just two weeks ago, which will be released on Heads Up International in the spring of 2007. The as-yet-untitled recording includes pianists Herbie Hancock and Brad Mehldau, guitarist Pat Metheny, drummer Jack DeJohnette and bassist John Patitucci.

Darryl Pitt, Brecker's longtime friend and manager, says the saxophonist was very enthusiastic about the final work. According to Pitt, "In addition to the love of his family and friends, his work on this project helped keep him alive and will be another jewel in his legacy."

"Michael Brecker was such a major influence on today's generation of jazz musicians and students of jazz" says Dave Love, President of Heads Up. "This is a great loss for the music community, but his saxophone stylings will live on through all jazz saxophone players. He was an inspiration to so many young players."

Brecker was recently nominated for a GRAMMY Award in the category of Best Jazz Instrumental Solo for Some Skunk Funk with his brother Randy Brecker and the WDR Big Band, released on Telarc in June 2006.

There is no known single cause of MDS and the only curative therapy is a blood stem cell (bone marrow) transplant. In an attempt to help Brecker, a massive donor drive was organized, and thousands of people were encouraged to enter the National Marrow Donor Program Registry [www.marrow.org or 800-MARROW-2]. Each year, approximately 9,000 people die in the U.S. while waiting for a bone marrow donor.

Brecker is survived by his wife, Susan; his children, Jessica and Sam; his brother, Randy; and his sister, Emily Brecker Greenberg. Memorial services are planned.


[Published on: 1/14/07]

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breadloaf starstarstarstar Mon 1/15/2007 11:52AM
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Mr. Brecker was a gentleman and a hell of a player. I saw him do a special tribute to John Coltrane with Herbie Hancock and he lit it up, big-time. May he join Mr. Coltrane in the beyond.

jalew Mon 1/15/2007 12:14PM
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truly, an original. thank you Mr. Brecker for the music. It will be with me always.


shainhouse Mon 1/15/2007 12:40PM
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BlowsAgainsttheEmpire Mon 1/15/2007 02:54PM
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Thanks for your music MB.

sunshinestar2001 starstarstarstarstar Mon 1/15/2007 02:55PM
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wow - talk about eerie...
Paul Simon's "still crazy after all these years" arrived in the mail on Saturday and I enjoyed that disc that afternoon. Brecker has some great parts and I'm kinda shocked to have listened on the last day he was alive.

I also have a Joni Mitchell DVD where I believe he plays, and that is somethin else as well...

RIP - love to think of him jammin out in the great beyond

EVILFUNK starstarstarstarstar Tue 1/16/2007 09:17AM
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the man set the standard for many...THANKS MB!

guitardave starstarstar Tue 1/16/2007 12:04PM
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The music world has lost a true giant. I had the pleasure of meeting the man bacstage at Simon Garfunkel (10/93 Paramount Theatre run) he was a humble man with monstrous talent.

MiWi La Lupa Fri 1/19/2007 09:35AM
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MiWi La Lupa

He truly is one of the great American jazz "Mutha Fucka's."

jazzmasterflex starstarstarstarstar Wed 2/14/2007 06:53PM
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Michael is and always will be an inspiration for me, I was just listening to him do "Synergy" the other day! What chops! Although I never met the man, his musical style will remain with me forever. Rest in Peace, my friend.