Michael Brecker – RIP

Michael Brecker passed away today.

Saxophonist Michael Brecker succumbs to cancer – USATODAY.com

I first became aware of Michael Brecker when I was in high school.  His band was on one of those PBS Newport Jazz Festival shows.  They played “Original Rays” and he did that killer EWI stuff that he could do.  It totally knocked me out.  I taped it and watched it over and over.  He played some stuff on that set that was SO burnin’.  It was one of the first times I realized that jazz could be so fiery and energetic that it just made me want to jump in the air and shout.

Years later I heard him at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival with McCoy Tyner.  It was one of those special religious musical experiences.  A few days ago I was listening to Pat Metheny’s 80/81 and thinking about how bad Michael Brecker is.  Too bad that is has become a was.  Thank you, Michael, for all the great music.

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New Lucky 7s mp3s

Here are three pieces from the Lucky 7s‘ September 6, 2006 performance at Elastic in Chicago.

Afterwards (mp3)

I Know It’s Here Somewhere (mp3)

Flyswatter (mp3)

The musicians are: Josh Berman (cornet), Keefe Jackson (tenor sax), Jeb Bishop and Jeff Albert (trombones), Jason Adasiewicz (vibraphone), Matthew Golombisky (bass), and Quin Kirchner (drums).

Creative Commons License
This music free to share under a Creative Commons Music Sharing License.

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Keefe Jackson’s Fast Citizens: Ready Everyday

I have acquired a lot of music in the past couple of months, and have intended to write about much of it, but the going has been slow.

ready everyday cover

I will start with a great new CD on Delmark, by my Lucky 7s colleague Keefe Jackson. Ready Everyday is the new album from Keefe’s band Fast Citizens. It is a pleasing balance of composition and freedom. The band is excellent. Frank Rosaly and Anton Hatwich provide a great feeling drive and swing, and the improvisations are excellent.

I have to give some props to the other member of the Lucky 7s on this album, cornetist Josh Berman. I know Josh is bad from playing with him, but everytime I hear him on something new, I dig his stuff even more. That’s also an indicator of Keefe’s sucess as a bandleader; he puts the musicians in situations that allow them to shine. Check out Ready Everyday, it is well worth it.

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Flow: Living in the Stream of Music – Terence Blanchard

flow dvd cover

I knew Terence Blanchard has some stuff going on, but this DVD really opened my eyes and ears to his badness. The movie follows his band through a few tour stops and a soundtrack session. It provides a great look into the vibe of the band, and what it is that makes them a real band instead of a collection of guys hired to play the leader’s music. There is also a great bonus piece that is some footage of Terence teaching at the Thelonious Monk Institute at USC. The way he presents things to the students is very inspiring.

The music in the film is very happening. So much so, that it inspired me to go buy the CD that they were supporting on the tour that is the setting for the movie. Well, I didn’t actually buy the CD, I got it on iTunes. The only other Terence CD I had was Wandering Moon, and it didn’t really light me up, but I am digging Flow.

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Jim Pepper

Doug Ramsey has a nice bit on Jim Pepper today in Rifftides.

Rifftides: Doug Ramsey on jazz and other matters

Jim Pepper is often strong medicine. Strong medicine can make you well.

My first exposure to Pepper came from a cruise ship band roomate I had in the mid-90’s named Barry Bergstrom. Dr. Bergstromi loved him some Pepper, and it rubbed off. If you haven’t explored the music of Jim Pepper, you’re missing out on intense and spirit filled music.

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New Year’s Resolution

This year I am resolving not to judge people.  Just because the guy is stumbling drunk and has fallen over the monitor into the sax player twice, it doen’t necessarily mean he is an asshole.  That’s not for me to judge.  I resolve to do my best to see every person I encounter in a positive light.

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