Michael Brecker

Michael Brecker (born 29 March 1949 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, † January 13, 2007 in New York City ) was an American tenor saxophonist and was one of the most influential jazz musicians.

Life and work

Michael Brecker grew up in Philadelphia in a musical family. His father was a lawyer who played jazz piano. Brecker Jr. began at the age of six years with the clarinet, switched to alto saxophone with eight and eventually played with ten years of the tenor saxophone. His older brother Randy chose the trumpet. Both brothers saw and heard quite early on, among others, Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk and Duke Ellington. The desire to become a musician was to owe after Brecker's own data but the music of John Coltrane.

In 1966, his brother Randy Brecker at the University of Indiana. After graduating, he decided to become a professional musician. In 1968 he therefore went to New York and played for the jazz-rock band Dreams, from 1973 with Randy as frontline of the Horace Silver Quintet. Finally, the brothers acted as Brecker Brothers and opened the music club Seventh Avenue South, led in the night jams establishing the Steps Ahead, which Brecker grossed six albums.

Studio Music

From the mid- 1970s played Brecker as much in demand as a sideman, among others, Chet Baker, George Benson, Dave Brubeck, Don Cherry, Chick Corea, Gary Burton, Herbie Hancock, Freddie Hubbard, Quincy Jones, Pat Metheny, Charles Mingus, Jaco Pastorius, Horace Silver, Tony Williams, John Lennon, Frank Sinatra, Bruce Springsteen, Frank Zappa, Steely Dan and Joni Mitchell.

His solo debut was in 1987 with a simple Brecker Michael Brecker named disk on which also Pat Metheny, Jack DeJohnette and Charlie Haden are heard and which was voted by the readers of the jazz magazine Down Beat "Album of the Year". With his second solo album Do not Try This At Home, he won his first of eleven Grammys. Followed in 1990 Now You See It ... ( Now You Do not), whose title track, a refined musical " adaptation " of the painting by MC Escher is where a rhythm without audible " seam " merges into another. Also in 1990 Michael Brecker worked on the album "The Rhythm Of the Saints " by Paul Simon, which designated Brecker as his ' absolute favorite album '. There followed a half years touring with Paul Simon.

In 1992, the Brecker Brothers were revived, the 1994 Out of the Loop brought out. 1995 and 1996 there was a collaboration with Herbie Hancock, Brecker played in 1997 then on the Tales From the Hudson again with Pat Metheny, Dave Holland and Jack DeJohnette. 1998 Two Blocks From the Edge was then recorded with the touring band. On Time Is of the Essence, programmatically devoted three drummers, then were joined by Pat Metheny first Elvin Jones and the Hammond B -3 organ Larry Goldings.

Brecker played in the course of his musical experience on 900 albums and has won eleven Grammy Awards. 2007 he was awarded in the Best Jazz Instrumental Solo category for his solo on the album Some Skunk Funk posthumously awarded the Grammy twelfth.


Since spring 2005, Michael Brecker was suffering from myelodysplastic syndrome, a severe disease of the bone marrow in which blood formation does not proceed from healthy, but by genetically modified cells of origin, and its consequence is an impaired formation of blood cells. This syndrome eventually developed into leukemia. On January 13, 2007, he succumbed to his illness. He is survived by his wife Susan and two adult children. The well-known blog software WordPress honored him with their version 2.5 in March 2008.


"His tone what strong and focused, and some of his Recognizable language echoed Coltrane 's sound. But having worked in pop, where a solo must be strong and to the point, Mr. Brecker what above all a condenser of exciting devices into short spaces. He Could fold the full pitch range of the horn into a short solo, from altissimo to the lowest notes, and connect rarefied ideas to the rich, soulful phrasing of saxophonists like Junior Walker. "

Discography (excerpt)

  • The Brecker Brothers Back To Back (1976 )
  • The Brecker Brothers Heavy Metal Be-Bop (1978 )
  • The Brecker Brothers Detente (1980 )
  • The Brecker Brothers: Straphangin ' (1981 )
  • Michael Brecker: Michael Brecker (1987 )
  • Michael Brecker: Now You See It ... ( Now You Do not) (1990 )
  • The Brecker Brothers Return Of The Brecker Brothers ( 1992)
  • The Brecker Brothers Out Of The Loop (1994 )
  • The Brecker Brothers: The Brecker Brothers, Live (1994 )
  • Michael Brecker: Tales From The Hudson ( 1996)
  • Michael Brecker: Two Blocks From The Edge ( 1998)
  • Michael Brecker: Time Is Of The Essence (1999)
  • Michael Brecker: Nearness of You: The Ballad Book ( 2001)
  • Charlie Haden & Michael Brecker: American Dreams (2002)
  • Michael Brecker: Wide Angles ( 2003)
  • Randy & Michael Brecker ( & the WDR Big Band): Some Skunk Funk ( 2005)
  • Michael Brecker: Pilgrimage (published posthumously in 2007, the annual prize of the German Record Critics' Award 2007)