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Bill Milkowski

Noted jazz journalist, prolific liner note writer and contributor to Downbeat, Jazziz, Guitar Player, Absolute Sound and Germany's Jazzthing. Author of eight music books, including "JACO: The Extraordinary and Tragic Life of Jaco Pastorius" and "Here And Now! The Autobiography of Pat Martino." His latest book is "Ode to a Tenor Titan: The Life and Times and Music of Michael Brecker."

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Michael Brecker on John Coltane's influence
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Naima [Directions in Music: Live as Massey Hall, 2001]
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Rocks (Brecker Brothers Live at the Bottom Line, 1976)
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Delta City Blues (Michael Brecker Quartet, Live in Cologne, 1999)
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Arc Of The Pendulum (from Time Is of the Essence, 1999)
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Never Alone (from Wide Angles, 2004)
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After John Coltrane, there was no more revered and profoundly influential saxophonist on the planet than Michael Brecker. For those coming of age in the 1970s, during that transitional decade when the boundaries between rock and jazz had begun to blur, Brecker stood as a transcendent figure. He was their Trane.



“When Michael Brecker played, the sound of surprise was routine. He wove Coltranesque sheets-of-sound, King Curtis-y squalls, jazz-rock showmanship, funky space electronica, and West African rhythms into an ear-opening, Grammy-grabbing body of work. Bill Milkowski’s exhaustively detailed biography conjures a revealing 3D portrait. It tracks the tenor sax virtuoso’s relentless creative journey while probing his lifelong insecurities, struggles with addiction, love of pranks and wordplay, deep wells of empathy, and heroic fight with death.”

— Gene Santoro, author of “Myself When I Am Real: The Life and Music of Charles Mingus,” “Stir It Up: Musical Mixes from Roots to Jazz” and “Dancing in Your Head: Jazz, Blues, Rock, and Beyond.”

“The definitive career review of one of jazz’s most widely-heard and influential yet self-deprecating and ever-probing instrumentalists is also a comprehensive depiction of the personal, professional and international spheres in which he lived. “Ode to a Tenor Titan” sings with scribe Bill Milkowski's commitment to his hero Michael Brecker, and love for the under-studied musical movement over which he reigned.”


— Howard Mandel, president of the Jazz Journalists Association and author of “Future Jazz” and “Miles Ornette Cecil -- Jazz Beyond Jazz”

“With incisive, vivid prose and brilliant analysis, Milkowski’s work capably places Michael Brecker in the pantheon of great jazz players, and his prose features a compelling depiction of an oft celebrated but frequently misunderstood era of music.”


— Martin Johnson, jazz critic at The Wall Street Journal, contributor to NPR Music

Milkowski’s salute to the late, great, ever-humble Michael Brecker overflows with the sounds and stories and details of a man who shaped the way the saxophone is played in and beyond the circle of jazz. The multitude of overlapping voices—Brecker’s friends and fellow musicians speak freely and without filter in this history—provides a panoramic view of a fast-receding time that deserves remembrance as well. Brecker’s premature departure in 2007 left a large hole. Reading his story explains why it felt that way, and joyfully, page by page, starts to mitigate that sense of loss.”


— Ashley Kahn, music journalist, educator and author of “A Love Supreme: The Story of John Coltrane's Signature Album”

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