Monday, January 15, 2007

Michael Brecker

I saw Michael Brecker with the McCoy Tyner Trio a few years ago in Basel. Since Tyner was the pianist in John Coltrane's Quartet for years, the comparison was easy, but Brecker lived up to the challenge, riding Tyner's accompaniment into his own variations on Coltrane's incredible sound. (And Avery Sharpe on bass was brilliant, too. I don't remember who the drummer was.)

In the summer of 2005, I went to the Willisau Festival to hear the Saxophone Summit of Dave Liebman, Joe Lovano, and Michael Brecker. It became a two-peak summit, because Brecker was in the hospital with leukemia. Liebman and Lovano were stunning; I can only imagine what it must have been like to hear those two with Brecker alongside them. Now I really can only imagine it, as Brecker died on Saturday.

It's ironic to me that Alice Coltrane, who replaced Tyner in Coltrane's band, also died last week, on Friday.

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