Jeff Brennan: Toured with Taylor, managed Max’s

Jeffrey Brennan.

BY RICK HILL | Jeffrey “Jeff” Brennan died early this past August, right after turning 70, in his apartment in Greenwich Village where he’d lived for 40 or 50 years. It was the former apartment of his good friend Howard Smith, American Oscar-winning film director, producer, journalist, screenwriter, actor and radio broadcaster who died in 2014 at age 77.

Born in July 1947, Jeff was raised in Maplewood, N.J., where he graduated from Columbia High School, before graduating from American University in Washington, D.C.

He leaves a sister, his cousin Jill in India and his old friend Pattie. Together they scattered his ashes in Martha’s Vineyard.

Shortly before his death, diabetes forced the removal of part of his left heel and, using a cane, he managed the staircase to his studio apartment at the top of a five-story walkup at 31 W. Eighth St., facing MacDougal St.

In recent years, he was a regular at institutions like Lifethyme Natural Foods, around the corner on Sixth Ave., and at Eva’s on W. 8th St., along with the Center on the Square / Greenwich House Senior Center, at 20 Washington Square North, between Five Ave. and MacDougal.

Jeff was known for his quiet and gentle nature, quick wit and benign humor and his great command of the best of rock and roll of the ’60s.

Through his cousin Jill, who dated James Taylor, he toured with Taylor as a singer and guitarist. Also through Jill, then a waitress at the original Max’s Kansas City, he was manager for seven years at the famous nightclub and restaurant, at 213 Park Ave. South, at E. 18th St. By day a meeting place for people in advertising, Max’s at night morphed into the happening place for the jet set and Andy Warhol, where Debbie Harry was also a waitress.

After Jeff had been unseen for days, the authorities entered his apartment in August only to find him dead. Then, in the confusion of the days and weeks that followed, his music along with his many acoustic and electronic guitars vanished.

Unfulfilled was his fantasy to move to Iceland for the climate, beauty, weather and food. He was predeceased by his blonde Swedish girlfriend, who perished in a plane crash in Bali.

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