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100 Jazz Profiles
Michael Brecker
1949 - 2007
Saxophonist. Brecker is the most influential saxophonist in the post Coltrane tradition, and his rapid execution, constant flow of ideas and rhythmic momentum have been widely admired and imitated. He is also one of the most prolifically recorded saxophonists in jazz, as he has worked in a vast range of studio settings as well as with his own groups and the fusion band led with his trumpeter brother Randy (born 1945).

In the early 1970s in New York
he played with several bands ranging from the hard bop of Horace Silver to the fusion of Billy Cobham and the more pop-orientated approach of James Taylor. He and Randy formed the Brecker Brothers in 1974, which rapidly became on of the world's leading fusion bands. Michael also worked in the late 1970s band Steps (which later became Steps Ahead), but in due course he began to focus more of fronting his own groups, and mainly a quartet with piano, bass and drums that allowed his torrent of ideas free rein.

This has not stood in the way of several reunions
of the Brecker Brothers over the years, nor his participation in numerous other high-profile projects from Herbie Hancock's New Standard band to the touring group that percussionist Don Alias brought to the UK in 2000. The association with Hancock has been reciprocated, with the pianist appearing on Brecker's 2001 reflective album Nearness of You - The Ballad Book (Verve 314 549 705-2) along with another of Brecker's regular recording partners, guitarist Pat Metheny.

Further Reading:

Nicholson, Stuart. Jazz Rock: A History. New York, Schirmer, 1998

Recommended CD:

Tales from the Hudson (Impulse 11912)
Suggested track: African Skies

Website links:
Michael Brecker site
The central site for all things Brecker.


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