Michael Brecker dies at age 57

Sadly, this time around it is true. I had seen a couple of emails in various lists I subscribe to this morning, but someone finally gave me a link to the a news site that has the details.

"Michael Brecker, a versatile and highly influential tenor saxophonist who won 11 Grammys over a career that spanned more than three decades, died Saturday at age 57.

Brecker died in a hospital in New York City of leukemia, according to his longtime friend and manager, Darryl Pitt. "

Truly, a great loss for jazz and the saxophone. Michael was a genius.

I remember first seeing him in the late 80s at the Shoreline Jazz festival. I had gone to see the group Spyro Gyra cause I thought they were great (hey, I was a high school noob). I was totally wrong. The Michael Brecker band, of which I knew nothing, was playing during the day, and I was amazed. He did his thing with the EWI where he would walk on stage, and play around with it for 15 minutes. Amazing stuff. I don’t remember staying for more than 3 Spryo Grya songs after hearing Brecker.

Soon after I heard him on Michael Frank’s song Dr. Sax. Wow! I was hooked. I got to meet him when he was the guest artist at my College. We talked about tech gadgets (Something about Palm Pilots and Maps as I remember). He was funny. During rehearsals, he was messing up (jet lag), and he’d make this face when he did it. I was laughing to whole time.

It’s a sad day.

Update: 01/14 19:28 GMT by E :The New York Times has a nice article about him today.

Update: 01/15 00:48 GMT by E :The Michael Brecker site now has word of his passing. 🙁

Update: 01/15 07:18 GMT by E :Someone posted a video on Youtube as a tribute. Nice montage. And of course, my favorite Steps Ahead song, Self Portrait