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Berklee Honors Michael Brecker

Tenor saxophonist and composer Michael Brecker (pictured) will receive an honorary doctor of music degree for his outstanding contributions to contemporary music at Berklee College of Music’s 2004 Entering Student Convocation, Fri., Sept. 3, at the Berklee Performance Center (this event is not open to the public). Brecker, Berklee President Roger A. Brown, and Vice President for Student Affairs Lawrence E. Bethune, will welcome the Berklee entering class of 2008, with approximately 915 students from more than 75 countries. In accepting his honorary doctorate, Brecker will address the class.

Returning Berklee students will honor Brecker with a tribute concert featuring music associated with his career. Throughout the ’70s and ’80s, Brecker performed and recorded with legends in jazz and pop, including Bruce Springsteen, Charles Mingus, Steely Dan, Joni Mitchell, Frank Sinatra, Frank Zappa, Aretha Franklin, Chet Baker, Yoko Ono, Paul Simon, Jaco Pastorius, Parliament Funkadelic and Pat Metheny, among others.

Brecker was one of the most in-demand session players and sidemen of the 1970s and ’80s. He co-founded the pioneering jazz-rock group Dreams in 1970, joined Horace Silver’s quintet from ’73-’74, then co-founded one of the decade’s most innovative and successful jazz-funk fusion groups, the Brecker Brothers, featuring his brother and trumpet player, Randy Brecker. In the early 1980s, Brecker was co-leader of the legendary all-star jazz quartet Steps, later called Steps Ahead, which combined jazz, R&B and rock.

In 1987, Brecker released his first solo album, Michael Brecker. The follow-up, Don’t Try This at Home, earned him his first Grammy Award. Following came 10 Grammys for solo albums, recordings with the Brecker Brothers, and collaborations with Herbie Hancock, Roy Hargrove, and McCoy Tyner. He is the only person to accept Grammys two years in a row for Best Jazz Instrumental Performance and Best Jazz Instrumental Solo (1995-1996). Brecker continues to be prolific in recording and performing, and remains a master at combining musical styles and players who help convey his visions. He will tour the U.S. in early 2005 with Herbie Hancock and Berklee alumnus Roy Hargrove.

Berklee College of Music was founded on the principle that the best way to prepare students for careers in music was through the study and practice of contemporary music. For over half a century, the college has evolved constantly to reflect the state of the art of music and the music business. More info can be found at

Originally Published