Updated: Nov 10, 2021
I created this slideshow of the great Michael Brecker, which I posted on Facebook on September 23, the birthday of Michael's main inspiration, John Coltrane. Mike fans will immediately recognize it as his brilliant, incredibly virtuosic and amazingly expressive solo tenor sax rendition of Trane's "Naima," which was captured for the 2002 album, Directions in Music: Live at Massey Hall. That great album features Michael mixing it up on the bandstand with fellow heavyweights Herbie Hancock, Roy Hargrove, John Patitucci and Brian Blade in what was intended to be a tribute to both Miles Davis and John Coltrane. Michael's solo rendition of "Naima" could not have been more eloquent and passionate that October 25 night in 2001 in Toronto. It stands as a landmark in his already distinguished career.
The slide show contains some poignant moments of Mike in action -- as a kid woodshedding on clarinet, as a developing young tenor player in the high school jazz band (alongside fellow saxophonist Marc Cohen...now known as the great pianist Marc Copland), as a member of the rotating cast of characters collectively known as White Elephant, on the road as a long-haired hippie with Dreams. It also depicts Mike in early incarnations of The Brecker Brothers, in Chick Corea's Three Quartets band, jamming with guitarist Henry Johnson and jazz drumming legend Roy Haynes, leading his own group, working on material in his basement studio at home in Hastings on Hudson, leading his Quindectet, with Directions in Music, with Steps Ahead partner Mike Mainieri, with David Liebman and Joe Lovano as the Saxophone Summit. And finally, there is a photograph of the ticket for the very moving Michael Brecker Memorial that took place at Town Hall in NYC on February 20, 2007. Through it all, you can feel Mike's spirit soaring!