Tommy Smith

The Passing of Michael Brecker

My heart sank deeply when I heard that Michael had died. I first met him when I was 15 years old, in Edinburgh. We were playing on a TV show hosted by Niels Henning OP. I heard him practising rhythm changes and went over to him and said, “Hi! You sound amazing! Who are you?” He replied, “Michael, who are you?”

He was one of the most humble human beings I’d ever met, and after that encounter I followed each note of his career with joy and amazement. Over the last 19 years, I wrote, met and talked with him on numerous occasions. We almost toured with Lovano in 2003, but his schedule was too busy. Now his live horn is silent but his recordings and soul will live on. He’d been so encouraging to me and I will miss him greatly. He joins an extraordinary league of great inspirations the World has ever seen: Coltrane, Alyer, Getz, Dexter, Webster, Bird, Lester…..