Tag Archives: Michael Brecker

Michael Brecker’s Logic Environment

iBrecker has a new article up about Michael Brecker’s last EWI/Computer setup. Basically, the advance of software allowed Michael to replace 2, five foot racks of tone modules with a Logic and Reason. Amazing stuff. Michael’s EWI/Computer setup is going to be profiled in an upcoming issue of Virtual Instruments magazine. Look for it.

Update: 04/23 00:06 GMT by E :Oops, forgot to put the link to the iBrecker article. Fixed.

Virtual Instruments Magazine has a link to the diagram of the Logic Environment.

New Michael Brecker Album

iBrecker.com has a link to a video teaser of an upcoming new album from Michael Brecker. Pilgrimage can also be pre-ordered via Amazon.com as well. Herbie Hancock, Brad Mehldau, Pat Metheny, Jack DeJohnette, and John Patitucci. 30 second clips of all the tracks are available on the Amazon link.

Album is scheduled to be released on May 22nd. For all you Brecker fans, this is a must have.

Michael Brecker Memorial

From a NYTimes article

"The memorial program for the saxophonist Michael Brecker that filled Town Hall on Tuesday night kept landing on the theme of generosity. Mr. Brecker died of leukemia on Jan. 13 at 57. During his illness he enlisted family members and friends in sending out a call for bone-marrow donors — not just for himself — that resulted in tens of thousands of donor registrations. His friends in jazz and pop music all implied that this wasn’t just an isolated case of conscientiousness."

Some interesting things mentioned are that Michael did drugs in the 70s (probably with 90% of the population as well), as well as some of the stories such as:

"Randy Brecker told a similar story, about one of the hundreds of recording sessions at which he had been hired to work alongside his brother. Michael, he said, came to work straight from the airport after a long flight, not having had time to read the music. He was asked by the producer to build a solo through a long two-chord vamp. One could see where this was going: Michael’s solo was of disturbingly high quality, and Randy was asked to take it from there."

For more Brecker stuff, check out Michael Brecker.com and a new fan site (which was supposed to be a Michael Brecker interactively supported site), iBrecker. iBrecker also has some more info about the Memorial Service.

Michael Brecker dies at age 57

Sadly, this time around it is true. I had seen a couple of emails in various lists I subscribe to this morning, but someone finally gave me a link to the a news site that has the details.

"Michael Brecker, a versatile and highly influential tenor saxophonist who won 11 Grammys over a career that spanned more than three decades, died Saturday at age 57.

Brecker died in a hospital in New York City of leukemia, according to his longtime friend and manager, Darryl Pitt. "

Truly, a great loss for jazz and the saxophone. Michael was a genius.

I remember first seeing him in the late 80s at the Shoreline Jazz festival. I had gone to see the group Spyro Gyra cause I thought they were great (hey, I was a high school noob). I was totally wrong. The Michael Brecker band, of which I knew nothing, was playing during the day, and I was amazed. He did his thing with the EWI where he would walk on stage, and play around with it for 15 minutes. Amazing stuff. I don’t remember staying for more than 3 Spryo Grya songs after hearing Brecker.

Soon after I heard him on Michael Frank’s song Dr. Sax. Wow! I was hooked. I got to meet him when he was the guest artist at my College. We talked about tech gadgets (Something about Palm Pilots and Maps as I remember). He was funny. During rehearsals, he was messing up (jet lag), and he’d make this face when he did it. I was laughing to whole time.

It’s a sad day.

Update: 01/14 19:28 GMT by E :The New York Times has a nice article about him today.

Update: 01/15 00:48 GMT by E :The Michael Brecker site now has word of his passing. 🙁

Update: 01/15 07:18 GMT by E :Someone posted a video on Youtube as a tribute. Nice montage. And of course, my favorite Steps Ahead song, Self Portrait

YouTube Jazz Videos

You’ve probably heard of YouTube. I’d say, it’s kind of like Napster of almost 10 years ago. People post all kinds of videos there, some are legal, some not (TV Shows, probably some of these videos, etc).

Anyhow, there are a number of great Jazz videos there. Do a search of Coltrane, or Michael Brecker. There are some fantastic videos there, even a recent one of Michael playing a new EWI. So go over to YouTube, and type in the name of a few of your favorite musicians. I’m sure you’ll find a good clip there. I’m still looking for a good clip of Quincy Jones (on Sat Nite Live) doing Manteca with Michael Brecker.

On a related note, if you like the video a LOT, you can download a program like PodTube to have it on your iPod.

Update: 08/28 18:30 GMT by E :Here are some of my favorites so far:

And a whole lot more.

Surprise Brecker Appearance!

Michael Brecker made a surprise appearance at Carnegie Hall Friday.

"In a surprise, they were joined on Mr. Hancock’s “One Finger Snap” by the saxophonist Michael Brecker, who has been ill for the last year with MDS, or Myelodisplastic Syndrome, a bone marrow disease. It was the first time he had performed since his hospitalization. Mr. Brecker looked slightly tired, but otherwise gave it his all, playing long, tumultuous lines at full strength through the song."

Great to know Michael is doing better!! He does look a lot thinner now though…….

Michael Brecker’s Health 2006

From David Liebman’s newsletter:

"MIKE BRECKER'S CONDITION I am thrilled to report the absolute latest news
on Mike Brecker's condition as of today (Dec 30). Mike has shown great
improvement in the blood cell count that is the essence of his recovery
after the operation of several weeks ago which basically constituted a
transfer of his daughter's 'good' cells into Mike. He is out of the hospital
and recovering in an apartment in the city where he was operated on,
expecting to be there for awhile as they monitor the cell count. THIS IS
GOOD NEWS and everyone's positive wishes are with Mike and his amazing
family."

Another Brecker Article

The A.P. has another article about Michael Brecker up.

"Brecker, who gave his last public performance in March, had written and arranged the music for a new small ensemble album before he was sidelined, but that project has been put on hold. He will be returning to Sloan-Kettering next week for a second round of chemotherapy and is taking an anti-inflammatory steroid to relieve his muscle pains."

After reading Lance Armstrong’s book about his fight with cancer, Chemo sounds terrible.

Update: 08/25 19:26 GMT by E :Here is another article. Man, it sounds bad. Hang in there Michael!

Michael Brecker Needs Your Help

I received this from Mel Martin.

FROM: Susan Brecker
SUBJECT: Michael Brecker needs your help.


Dear Family and Friends,


My husband, Michael Brecker, has been diagnosed with MDS
(myelodysplastic syndrome), and its critical that he undergoes a stem
cell transplant. The initial search for a donor (including Michael's
siblings and children) has not yet resulted in a suitable match.
Michael's doctors have told us that we need to immediately explore ALL
possible options. This involves getting as many people of a similar
genetic background to be tested.


There are some important points to understand concerning this process:


1. The screening involves a blood test only. It can be done very
quickly either at a marrow donation center or at a LOCAL LAB. The cost
is anywhere from $40 to $75 and your insurance may cover it. (In NYC,
you can call Frazier, at the NY Blood Bank, at 212-570-3441, and make
an appointment for HLA typing. It costs $40.00.) Check with your
local blood bank, or go to http://www.marrow.org to find the donor
center nearest you.

There is a lot more in the email. Read on for more. Poor Michael. Hang in there man!

Update: 07/29 20:52 GMT by E :I’m planning on visiting one of these centers next week. I need to make a trip out to Berkeley to have my new Oboe looked at (I already put a little crack in it :-()

Here is the WHOLE thing again

FROM: Susan Brecker
SUBJECT: Michael Brecker needs your help.


Dear Family and Friends,


My husband, Michael Brecker, has been diagnosed with MDS
(myelodysplastic syndrome), and its critical that he undergoes a stem
cell transplant. The initial search for a donor (including Michael's
siblings and children) has not yet resulted in a suitable match.
Michael's doctors have told us that we need to immediately explore ALL
possible options. This involves getting as many people of a similar
genetic background to be tested.


There are some important points to understand concerning this process:


1. The screening involves a blood test only. It can be done very
quickly either at a marrow donation center or at a LOCAL LAB. The cost
is anywhere from $40 to $75 and your insurance may cover it. (In NYC,
you can call Frazier, at the NY Blood Bank, at 212-570-3441, and make
an appointment for HLA typing. It costs $40.00.) Check with your
local blood bank, or go to http://www.marrow.org to find the donor
center nearest you.


2. Your blood typing information can be posted on the international
registry, if you choose, where it would also be available to others in
need of a transplant. BEING ON THE REGISTRY DOESN'T MEAN YOU HAVE TO
DONATE, it just means that you may be ASKED to do so. You can take your
name off the registry at any time.


3. Should you be selected as a potential donor for Michael, please
understand that there have been tremendous advances in bone marrow
transplants and the term itself can be misleading. Bone marrow
donation is no more invasive than giving blood. Stem cells are simply
harvested from your blood and then transplanted to Michael.


4. A match for Michael would be most likely to come from those of Eastern
European Jewish descent. If you or anyone you know are in this category
please make a special effort to immediately get tested. Ultimately, you
would be doing something not just for Michael, but for so many more who
are in a similar situation as my husband.


5. You are now part of our internet-based drive for donor testing. If
everyone who receives this can motivate a bunch of their friends to get
tested, and those friends then forward this email to get their friends
to get tested, we will have rapidly expanded the pool of potential
donors. I urge all of you to get tested AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.


Any local blood center/Red Cross center can assist in organizing a
drive for Michael, although it would be desirable if you can get a
large group, e.g. a synagogue, to sponsor it. Should you have any
questions about this, please don't hesitate to get in touch with
Michael's management office at 212.302.9200 or info@michaelbrecker.com.


Thank you so much for your love and support.


We are so grateful.


Susan xo


__________________________________________________ _____________
Michael Brecker is 56 and an internationally renowned jazz musician. As
a result of his harmonic innovations, Michael is among the most studied
contemporary instrumentalists in music schools throughout the world
today. Michael has played on hundreds of albums with artists ranging
from Herbie Hancock to James Taylor, from Paul Simon to Frank Zappa to
Quincy Jones, Chet Baker and Bruce Springsteen---and on and on. As a
leader and co-leader of The Brecker Brothers (with Randy Brecker) and
Directions in Music (with Herbie Hancock and Roy Hargrove), Michael has
received 11 Grammy Awards ,more than any saxophonist, ever. For further
information, go to http://www.michaelbrecker.com


Best Regards;


Mel Martin

Michael Brecker’s Health

I heard on the Wind Controller Group that Michael Brecker is suffering from myelodysplastic syndrome, which is:

"Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) refers to a heterogeneous group of closely related clonal hematopoietic disorders. All are characterized by a cellular marrow with impaired morphology and maturation (dysmyelopoiesis) and peripheral blood cytopenias, resulting from ineffective blood cell production."

Reading on, it does not sound good. More information is here about the disease.

Louis’s website has more information.

Recover quickly Master Michael. And read Lance Armstrong’s book about his fight with cancer. It is an inspiring account.

Update: 07/03 03:37 GMT by E :Mike Mainieri’s site has some more info.

Update: 07/15 05:19 GMT by E :Michael Brecker’s website is saying that Michael is taking a year off to recover. There is info there to send well-wishes and what not.