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Dustin LindenSmith

father | musician | writer

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R.I.P., Michael Brecker

I was saddened, but not necessarily unsurprised, to read of seminal jazz tenor saxophonist Michael Brecker dying from MDS at age 57. As evidenced by his age, he was not one of the original generation of modern jazz pioneers such as Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane. He probably saw those artists perform many times, though.

I'm not a Brecker specialist, but I'm an admirer and a fan of his playing. My favourite record that he's on is Chick Corea's 1981 acoustic album, Three Quartets (see Chick's discography here); I particularly remember an inspiring hard bop solo over Charlie Parker's Confirmation on that recording.

I knew that he was suffering from MDS, a rare form of leukemia, and that a worldwide search was on for a suitable match for bone marrow transplant. I believe that he tried a partial match from his daughter, and I gather that it lengthened his survival at least to the extent that he could complete his final studio recording. I'd like to hear that when it comes out.