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Michael Brecker Memorial

Michael Brecker

NPR's JazzSet is honored to present this exclusive set from saxophonist Michael Brecker (1949-2007)

"Among the most influential musicians in jazz since the 1960s." (New York Times)

Michael Brecker's death in January robs jazz of one of our most important musicians, recognized worldwide. The Times of London wrote, "No saxophonist in jazz has had as pervasive an influence as Michael Brecker, since the death of John Coltrane in 1967." His death came at the end of the 2007 International Association of Jazz Education conference in New York. Emotion swept through the thousands of conferees, and the IAJE said later that he is the single most-studied instrumentalist in music schools in the world today.

Though clearly in great demand, Michael Brecker was humble. To the legions of young players who used to come up to him and say they wanted to play like him, he suggested Coltrane, Joe Henderson, Sonny Rollins, saying with a laugh "I'm serious about the music but I don't take myself that seriously." Then he added -- soberly -- "But I am serious about music."

Michael waited until his mid 30s to make his first album as a leader. Then he began pouring out great CDs, almost one a year. Tales from the Hudson launched on November 21st, 1996, at the Iridium in New York. Joey Calderazzo is on piano, James Genus on bass, Jeff Tain Watts on drums, and Michael Brecker on tenor. In the audience, guitarists Pat Metheny and Hiram Bullock and tenor saxophonist Stanley Turrentine.

We remember Michael Brecker (1949-2007) with music from the release party for his 1996 CD Tales from the Hudson, winner of the sixth of Brecker's 11 Grammy's.


"Skylark" as theme (Hoagy Carmichael, Johnny Mercer)
"Slings and Arrows" (Brecker)
"Midnight Voyage" (Calderazzo)
"Blues on the Corner" (McCoy Tyner)
"Naked Soul" (Brecker)


Michael Brecker's Site

Duke Markos was the recording engineer for this night with Michael Brecker. Thanks to Ron Sturm with Claudia Lalamond and Rich Freeman and all at Iridium.

Thanks to the management team Darryl Pitt and Chris Hinderaker of Depth of Field. Thanks to Impulse Records, Jon Van Hala and Duke Dubois (much missed).

The WBGO team is technical director Gary Lue, production manager Gary Sanders, with Tony Ryan and Scott Diller.

Executive Producer Thurston Briscoe III, Producer of JazzSet Becca Pulliam.

Copyright 2007 NPR