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Talking about "Ode to a Tenor Titan: The Life and Times and Music of Michael Brecker" on WLIW

Updated: May 10, 2022

In a recent interview with John Landes for his "Jam Session Radio Hour" program for Long Island station WLIW based in Southampton, I talked about how I got into music journalism and how I came to write biographies on Jaco Pastorius and Michael Brecker. This is Part 1 of a wide-ranging interview that covered a multitude of topics. In this segment, I discuss the whole early '80s scene at Seventh Avenue South, the club that Michael formed with brother Randy and partner Kate Greenfield, and I also talk about Mike's first sax teacher in Philadelphia, Vince Trombetta, about Michael's college jazz band from Indiana University, his appearance on Randy's first album as a leader, Score, recorded in 1969. Check out him referencing both Junior Walker and Trane in his urgent solo from Hal Galper's "The Vamp," which featured Larry Coryell on guitar, Galper on Fender Rhodes and the killer pocket rhythm tandem of Chuck Rainey on electric bass and the great Bernard Purdie on drums.

I also talked about Michael's appearance in 1982 on Claus Ogerman's orchestral masterpiece Cityscape , recorded a full five years before Mike's first album as a leader, 1987's Michael Brecker on the Impulse! label. Here's the title track from that breakthrough album. Notice how Michael (who got co-billing on the album cover) essentially performs as the main 'singer of songs' on this gorgeous album in the same way that Miles Davis worked with Gil Evans on their historic collaborations like Sketches of Spain, Porgy and Bess, Miles Ahead and more.

This is just Part 1.

Stay tuned for Part 2.

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