RIP, Saxophonist Michael Brecker
January 13, 2007 5:10 PM   Subscribe

Michael Brecker has passed away Arguably, one of the most influential saxophonists of all time, he has lost his fight against myelodysplastic syndrome. Truly a major loss for the jazz and rock worlds.
posted by milnak (30 comments total)
posted by champthom at 5:12 PM on January 13, 2007

posted by miss lynnster at 5:14 PM on January 13, 2007

I also meant to add a link to his homepage.
posted by milnak at 5:18 PM on January 13, 2007

Loved his work with Zappa, scarce though it was.
posted by krinklyfig at 5:28 PM on January 13, 2007

Michael Brecker, Wikipedia.

YouTube results for Michael Brecker.

Playing the EWI.

Thanks for the sizzling sax. Rest in peace.
posted by nickyskye at 5:55 PM on January 13, 2007

Aw, man. That's a shame. I didn't even know he was ill.
posted by PercussivePaul at 6:06 PM on January 13, 2007

I was just listening to his music on the radio (WBGO) as I drove home through the rain. When the piece ended the DJ, taking deep, audible breaths, said that his friend, Michael had passed.

posted by R. Mutt at 6:13 PM on January 13, 2007

I loved the Brecker Bros. Much thanks to them for the great music. Sleep in peace, Michael.
posted by Lynsey at 6:49 PM on January 13, 2007

His pick-up band Steps Ahead was one of the most criminally under-rated jazz bands in history.

The cut Pools (written by former member Don Grolnick(RIP) is worth the price of anything you can find it on.

I would bet a third of my vinyl collection has him on it somewhere.

a great loss
posted by timsteil at 7:01 PM on January 13, 2007

posted by Smart Dalek at 7:03 PM on January 13, 2007

In A Sentimental Mood
posted by Duncan at 7:41 PM on January 13, 2007

posted by eriko at 7:47 PM on January 13, 2007

For his work on 'Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out' alone...

posted by jonmc at 7:53 PM on January 13, 2007

Although I never met the man, just knowing that people have the potential in them to be as musically original and technically brilliant as Brecker was made life on this planet a little more worth living. He'll live on through his music though... Michael's sound has become in the last decade or two just as important to saxophonists as that of Coltrane.

goodbye, Dr. Sax...
posted by StrangerInAStrainedLand at 7:54 PM on January 13, 2007

Wow. RIP, Mike. This is a sad, sad day for music.
posted by rossination at 8:01 PM on January 13, 2007

I also found Michael through his work with Zappa. His album, with his brother, "Heavy Metal Bebop" is one of the most fun, jamming jazz albums I own.

posted by papakwanz at 8:28 PM on January 13, 2007

I never liked his sound as much as I did the bigger, breathier tenor sounds of Ben Webster or Dexter Gordon, but for his efforts to keep jazz a vital kind of music, I am sorry for his passing, and sympathetic for his family's loss.
posted by paulsc at 9:36 PM on January 13, 2007

I saw Michael Brecker perform with Herbie Hancock about two years ago. In addition to the sax, he played some crazy vocal synthesizer contraption that allowed him to record loops on the fly and solo over them. It was one of the most memorable concert experiences I've had.

Somehow this concert seems like it happened not that long ago, and Brecker looked like he was full of energy. So it was rather surprising to read about his death.
posted by epimorph at 10:18 PM on January 13, 2007

I am really coming to hate deathfilter.
posted by caddis at 10:42 PM on January 13, 2007

Among my favorite of Brecker's appearances was Infinity, a 1995 recording by Impulse that has the added benefit of featuring McCoy Tyner's trio. That recording of "I Mean You" rivals Monk's own versions. Every solo is absolutely brilliant. You'll be amazed to hear what Avery Sharpe can do with a double-bass (unless you've heard Brian Bromberg in the past few years), but Brecker's solo is equally impressive.

My favorite of Brecker's recordings as a leader is probably Tales From the Hudson, a 1996 session alongside Pat Metheny, Dave Holland, and several others. Brecker and Metheny shared very different conceptions that happened to complement each other very well.

I also recently came into possession of a solo recording by Brecker from 2002. It's a rare find, and it reminded me of Brecker's liner notes for David S. Ware's solo album for Splasc(h). Ware is a very avant-garde player, and the album consisted of what many listeners would regard as abstract noise; so its endorsement by Brecker, arguably the foremost technician on the tenor saxophone, lent it a unique angle of "street cred."
posted by cribcage at 11:54 PM on January 13, 2007

And, sadly, the LA Times now confirms that Alice Coltrane passed away on Friday.
posted by cribcage at 12:20 AM on January 14, 2007

posted by fingers_of_fire at 12:38 AM on January 14, 2007

posted by hal9k at 1:19 AM on January 14, 2007

cribcage - If we've got the same solo recording, (In Germany, he plays Naima, Hot House among others) you've come across one of my favorite saxophone recordings of all time. It's not too common that a sax player can play a tune solo, keep the harmonic feel intact, and still improvise some wild shit.

Coltrane too? That's an awful surprise. Just saw her here in SF in an amazing show with her son Ravi, Charlie Haden and Roy Haynes. At least she went out on top.
posted by StrangerInAStrainedLand at 2:35 AM on January 14, 2007

Michael was a long time good friend of ours and will be remembered and celebrated throughout the week on our station (wbgo) as well as nationally (npr) and internationally.

Just as a sidenote, Delta City Blues was voted song of the year here at work back in '99.

There are some podcasts of interviews and stories on the site that you may dig. Josh's latest with Alice was recorded only this past October.

I embarrassed myself in front of her son Ravi a couple of years ago. Hosting our annual "Jazzathon" at Birdland, I was taking a break and throwing back a cold one at the bar when I found myself in a spontanious but heavy conversation with one of the guys who was performing (we had dozens and dozens, our Jazzathons run 18 hours+ non-stop).

He knew who I was, paid a few complimets etc, I assumed he was a member (and he is), but didn't realize who he was, if you will. I thanked him very much shaking his hand replying, "thank you very much, and you are?...."

"Ravi. Ravi Coltrane."

How... professional... of me. I felt, and still do, feel like an ass. How could I not have known?

I was never fortunate enough to know his mother. 'Met her a few times at various functions, but that is all. She was however, a great friend to many here, as of course Ravi is as well.

This double blow has been a... double blow... here at work. So many have passed in the last couple of years, time is making itself very clear to mortality no doubt.

Michael did not win the battle, and passed far-far too young, but the influence of his music in that (what amounts to being) short time, will likely far outweigh all of our brief times. We should all be so lucky.

Two quick sidenotes - Michael guest appeared on friend Sarah Cion's disc, "Summer Night." I'll ask Sarah if I can share one of the tunes in MP3.

Also, Josh (Director of Specialty Programming) produced a documentary recording called "A Love Supreme" hosted by Mos Def. This, to coincide with Ashley Kahn's book of the same title. This recording, produced for broadcast only, is not publicly available. I'll ask Josh if I can share an MP3 or two.
posted by bluedaniel at 3:58 AM on January 14, 2007 [1 favorite]

Man, Alice will be sorely missed in my house.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 5:02 AM on January 14, 2007

posted by melixxa600 at 9:34 AM on January 14, 2007


One of the all time great cats. He will be sorely missed.
posted by eejit at 2:38 PM on January 14, 2007

R.I.P. Michael
posted by autoverzekering at 9:09 AM on January 15, 2007

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