Saturday, December 29, 2007

Jazz saxophone great Michael Brecker, 1949-2007

A belated word on the passing of Michael Brecker, a jazz saxophonist who, with this trumpeter brother Randy Brecker pioneered the use of horns in fusion and rock-accented jazz improvisation, passed away last January 13 of this year. Brecker , of course, was much more than a fixture on the fusion circuit; as with the case of guitarist Pat Metheny, another musician first associated with the narrowing dynamics of jazz-rock, Brecker made his mark as an explorer of form, fashioning a rich and full bodied tone and a supple, inventive style in the way he presented his formidable technique. The sound of his spirited solos has poured from my apartment windows for years, and his was an identifiable style that would get me moving my fingers as if I were holding an instrument myself, punching up and punching out the down beats and wrapping a thick, lacy set of ribbons around the busiest of bass lines. My heart sank when I read of his early passing, and from here, nearly a year after the fact, I offer a thank you.

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