On Tuesday, January 20, 2015, Paul Simon, James Taylor, Bobby McFerrin, and other prominent musicians will honor the memory of their friend and colleague, 15-time Grammy-winning saxophonist Michael Brecker, at “The Nearness of You” benefit concert in New York City.
Hugh Jackman and Deborra-lee Furness are the benefit chairs, and Meredith Viera will serve as master of ceremonies. Proceeds from the concert will support cancer research at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) and the work of Azra Raza, MD, and Siddhartha Mukherjee, MD, PhD. Dr. Raza is director of the Myelodisplastic Syndromes (MDS) Center at CUMC. Dr. Mukherjee is a physician and researcher at the MDS Center. In 2011, he won a Pulitzer Prize for The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer.
In 2004, Brecker was diagnosed with MDS. In need of a bone marrow transplant, he searched in the International Bone Marrow Registry for a match. He failed to find a matching donor, and in 2007 he died at age 57. As a result of the tens of thousands of people worldwide who registered in an effort to save Brecker’s life, 54 lives were saved when new registrants were perfect matches for others in need.
“When I learned that a cure for MDS will likely provide the key to curing leukemia, I realized there was no better way to honor my husband’s legacy than by raising important funds for research through this benefit concert,” said Brecker’s widow, event producer Susan Brecker.
Partial support of the “The Nearness of You” concert has been provided by Novartis. The concert will be held in The Appel Room at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall. General tickets, starting at $200, may be purchased as of Monday, November 17, at The Jazz at Lincoln Center box office, located on the ground floor of the Time Warner Center (Broadway and 60th Street), by Center Charge phone at 212-721-6500, or online at www.jazz.org/events/all/