Saxophonist Michael Brecker was born on 29 March 1949 in Philadelphia. He moved to New York when he was twenty-one where he was a part of the short-lived, but much appreciated band, Dreams for about a year with his older brother Randy, who played trumpet, and drummer Billy Cobham. After Dreams broke up Brecker played with Cobham and Horace Silver before forming the Brecker Brothers in 1975 with Randy.
Begininng in the 1970s he was a much in demand session player working with some of the very best in rock including, James Taylor, Paul Simon (his song, ‘Still Crazy After All These Years’ features a typical Brecker solo), Todd Rundgren, Steely Dan, Lou Reed, Dire Straits, Joni Mitchell, Eric Clapton, John Lennon, Dan Fogelberg, Frank Sinatra, Frank Zappa, and Bruce Springsteen. His jazz credentials are equally impressive working with, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Chet Baker, George Benson, Quincy Jones, Charles Mingus, McCoy Tyner, and Pat Metheny.
In the 1980s he was a member of the Saturday Night Live Band as well as Steps Ahead with Mike Mainieri. Brecker recorded a solo album in 1987 and continued making his own albums during the next two decades, winning multiple Grammy Awards.
In 2001 he co-founded the collaborative group, Hancock-Brecker-Hargrove, performing among pieces some dedicated to John Coltrane that are included on the album, Directions in Music: Live At Massey Hall (2002) that won a Grammy in 2003.
While performing at the Mount Fuji Jazz Festival in 2004, Brecker was diagnosed with the blood disorder myelodysplastic syndrome. By late 2006, he appeared to be recovering, but this was not the case and he made his final public performance on 23 June 23, playing with Hancock at Carnegie Hall. On 13 January 2007 Brecker died from complications of leukaemia in New York City.