Sunday, January 14, 2007

R.I.P: Alice Coltrane & Michael Brecker

Two notables left us this weekend: Alice Coltrane & Michael Brecker.
Alice Coltrane, the jazz performer and composer who was inextricably linked with the adventurous musical improvisations of her late husband, legendary saxophonist John Coltrane, has died. She was 69.

Coltrane died Friday at West Hills Hospital and Medical Center in West Hills, according to an announcement from the family's publicist. She had been in frail health for some time and died of respiratory failure.

Though known to many for her contributions to jazz and early New Age music, Coltrane, a convert to Hinduism, was also a significant spiritual leader and founded the Vedantic Center, a spiritual commune now located in Agoura Hills. A guru of growing repute, she also served as the swami of the San Fernando Valley's first Hindu temple, in Chatsworth.

For much of the last nearly 40 years, she was also the keeper of her husband's musical legacy, managing his archive and estate. Her husband, one of the pivotal figures in the history of jazz, died of liver disease July 17, 1967, at the age of 40.

A pianist and organist, Alice Coltrane was noted for her astral compositions and for bringing the harp onto the jazz bandstand. Her last performances came in the fall, when she participated in an abbreviated tour that included stops in New York and San Francisco, playing with her saxophonist son, Ravi.
Saxophonist Michael Brecker dies at age 57
Michael Brecker, a versatile and much-studied jazz
saxophonist who won 11 Grammys over a career that spanned more than
three decades, died Saturday at age 57.

Brecker died in New York of leukemia, according to his longtime friend
and agent, Darryl Pitt.

In recent years, the saxophonist had struggled myelodysplastic syndrome,
a cancer in which the bone marrow stops producing enough healthy blood
cells. The disease, known as MDS, often progresses to leukemia.

Becker, who had a home in Hastings-on-Hudson, was born in 1949 in
Philadelphia and had won 11 Grammys for his work as a tenor saxophonist.
He was inspired to study the tenor saxophone by the work of jazz legend
John Coltrane, according to his Web site.

He and his brothers led a successful jazz-rock fusion group called the
Brecker Brothers. Throughout his career, he recorded and performed with
numerous jazz and pop music leaders, including Herbie Hancock and Joni
Mitchell, according to the site.

His technique on the saxophone was widely emulated and taught. Jazziz
magazine once called him "inarguably the most influential tenor stylist
of the last 25 years."

Technorati tags: , , ,

No comments: