Jazz World Loses Sax Musician Michael Brecker

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Tenor saxophonist Michael Brecker died Saturday at the age of 57. The artist was one of the jazz world's most prolific studio musicians. He toured or performed with Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, and Herbie Hancock. Brecker was known for his powerful tone and his stamina for a solo.


The world of jazz has lost one of its most prolific studio musicians. Tenor saxophonist Michael Brecker died yesterday at the age of 57. He performed with Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell and Herbie Hancock. Brecker was known for his powerful tone and breathtaking stamina as a soloist, stamina he shows here in his Grammy-winning song, "Cabin Fever."

(Soundbite of song, "Cabin Fever")

ELLIOTT: Michael Brecker was inspired to pick up the tenor sax after listening to his father's old John Coltrane records. Over the years, he emulated that style and it became part of his own voice and the sound that many pop singers wanted on their recordings. Here's Michael Brecker's rendition of "Nyema," a John Coltrane classic.

(Soundbite of song, "Nyema")

ELLIOTT: Michael Brecker and his older brother, trumpeter Randy, won over legions of fans in the 1970s, scoring hits on the pop charts with funky danceable music like this one, "Sneakin' Up Behind You."

(Soundbite of song, "Sneakin' Up Behind You")

ELLIOTT: Together, the Brecker brothers harnessed the energy of rock with the discipline and improvisation of jazz. Michael Brecker won 11 Grammy awards. His career spanned more than three decades and his saxophone playing is believed to be heard on more than 1,000 recordings.

Michael Brecker died yesterday in New York City of complications from leukemia.

(Soundbite of music)

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