Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Michael Brecker Competition Continues Legacy of Generous Musician

Accomplished young alto saxophonist Alex Hahn is this year's winner

Alex Hahn - Winner of the 2019 Michael Brecker International Saxophone Competition.
Alex Hahn – Winner of the 2019 Michael Brecker International Saxophone Competition. (photo: Odasan Macovich)

Michael Brecker used to receive one or two unsolicited cassettes in the mail, every week, from young and aspiring musicians seeking his advice and guidance. Brecker, one of the most influential saxophonists to emerge in the wake of John Coltrane’s death in 1967, was a busy man—he played on close to 1,000 albums in his lifetime, garnering 15 Grammy Awards—but he always made time for those tapes.

“He listened to every single one of them,” his widow, Susan Brecker, recalled in a recent telephone conversation. “He was really excited that there were a lot of up-and-coming young players.”

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.

Matthew Kassel

Matthew Kassel is a freelance writer whose work has been published by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Slate, and The Columbia Journalism Review, among other publications.