As I kick off this blog on my first-ever website (something I probably should've had 20 years ago), I reflect back on my early days as a freelancer in NYC in the early '80s. I was living in a cramped studio apartment in Jamaica, Queens that I shared with my pal Rick Weinman, who had made the arduous trip with me from Milwaukee in my tiny gold 1976 Honda Civic. Back then I was typing on an IBM Selectric typewriter, using whiteout for making corrections. And after finishing a story for Downbeat, Guitar World, Music Sound Output, Mix or whatever other freelance market I had opened up for myself at the time, I would shove said manuscript into in a manilla envelope and drive on the Long Island Expressway to Manhattan to drop the assignment off at the only Fed Ex outlet then open at night -- on W. 42nd Street at 11th Avenue in Hell's Kitchen -- in order to have it arrive on deadline the next morning at its ultimate destination. This is a decade before magazine publishers began using fax machines to receive copy from far-flung freelancers, and two decades before I purchased my own first computer in 1993 with the intention of working on my first book ("JACO: The Extraordinary and Tragic Life of Jaco Pastorius, The World's Greatest Bass Player" on Backbeat Books).
Seems like a lifetime ago!
As an older person (and something of a hoarder) I still have all of my cassette tapes (both interviews and music) dating back to the early '70s. I also have stacks and stacks of interviews done on micro-mini cassettes in the '90s, and I have a bucketful of SD memory cards from interviews I've done since securing my first digital recorder in 2005.
And now comes my first entry for my first blog on my first dedicated website. I'll be posting comments on the evolving jazz scene and reviews of new albums while also highlighting some underappreciated elders and young talent deserving of wider recognition on this blog. I'll also post extended Q&A interviews with musicians that I've interviewed for various magazines (one of my great frustrations is that an hour chat with an artist usually translates to 16,000+ words and magazines very rare use anything over 3,000 words). And I'll post items that for reasons of space limitations could not be included in my latest book, "Ode to a Tenor Titan: The Life and Times and Music of Michael Brecker" (Backbeat Books).
So watch Bill's Blog for some 'Brecker Extras' like personnel testimonies from Michael's fellow saxophonists, both colleagues and disciples, as well comprehensive discographies on Michael's output as a sideman (and he appeared on over 900 recordings as an in-demand session musician) along with rare photographs, audio files and video footage from lectures, live streams and panel discussions devoted to "Ode to a Tenor Titan." And I welcome your feedback on these blog items.