January 14, 2007

Saxophonist Michael Brecker Dies From Leukemia

brecker.jpgEleven-time Grammy Award winning saxophonist Michael Brecker has lost his battle with leukemia. Brecker died on Jan. 13 at a hospital in New York City at age 57. In 2005, Brecker was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome, a bone marrow disorder which can progress to leukemia. Last year, he received an experimental, partial-match stem-cell transplant from his daughter, but the procedure didnít have the expected results.

Brecker, whose brother is trumpeter Randy Brecker, had a storied career, and has collaborated in the studio with smooth jazz artists such as David Benoit, George Benson, Larry Carlton, Bob James, Earl Klugh, Chuck Loeb, David Sanborn and Diana Krall. Breckerís record label, Heads Up, is scheduled to release his final CD this spring. It features collaborations with guitarist Pat Metheny, pianist Herbie Hancock and others.

Producer and keyboardist Jason Miles, who in 2006 released the CD Whatís Going On: The Music of Marvin Gaye, has recorded extensively with Brecker. "There are very few people out there, and I donít even know of anybody Ė and if I can find that person, I wanna know Ė that could go and play stone pop music one minute and convince you that thatís what he does, and then play the most difficult, intense jazz the next minute and convince you that thatís what he does," he says. " That is an art that a lot of people canít do."

Brecker is survived by his wife, Susan, and two children: Jessica and Sam. Memorial services are being planned.

Posted by Brian Soergel at January 14, 2007 6:05 PM