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Monday, January 22, 2007

Michael Brecker - Prolific Jazzman

MichaelBrecker001No saxophonist in jazz has had as pervasive an influence as Michael Brecker, since the death of John Coltrane in 1967. Across a wide range of stylistic backgrounds, Brecker developed the emotional intensity and technical dexterity of Coltrane’s mid-period playing into a highly distinctive individual style of his own, which was so widely imitated by aspiring saxophone students that Leeds College of Music took to nicknaming those teenage players who auditioned for its jazz course as “Ready-Breckers”. In addition to leading his own bands, co-fronting the Brecker Brothers fusion band with his trumpet-playing brother Randy, and founding the groups Dreams and Steps Ahead, Brecker worked with such legendary jazz figures as the drummer Billy Cobham, and the pianists Horace Silver and Herbie Hancock. He was also one of the most prolific session players in history, contributing to more than 400 freelance dates by artists as varied as Paul Simon, James Taylor, Steely Dan, Dire Straits and Joni Mitchell. In the summer of 2005, Brecker was found to have MDS (myelodysplastic syndrome), cancelling all his concerts, and undergoing an extended course of chemotherapy. Despite his illness, which later developed into leukaemia, he recorded a final album, completing it two weeks ago.  R.I.P.

Michael Brecker's Quindectet - Live at the Barbican 2004

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