Michael Brecker Chronology

Compiled by David Demsey

1949/March 29 – Born, Phladelphia, PA; raised in Cheltenham, PA; brother Randy, sister Emily is pianist. Their father was an attorney who was a pianist and jazz enthusiast/fan

ca. 1958 – started studies on alto saxophone and clarinet

1963 – switched to tenor saxophone in high school

1966/Summer – attended Ramblerny Summer Music Camp, recorded Ramblerny 66 [First Recording], member of big band led by Phil Woods; band also contained Richie Cole, Roger Rosenberg, Rick Chamberlain, Holly Near. In a touch football game the day before the final concert, quarterback Phil Woods broke Mike’s finger with the winning touchdown pass; he played the concert with taped-up fingers.

1966/November 11 – attended John Coltrane concert at Temple University; mentioned in numerous sources as a life-changing experience

1967/June – graduated from Cheltenham High School

1967-68 – at Indiana University for three semesters[?]

n.d. – First steady gigs r&b keyboard/organist Edwin Birdsong (no known recordings exist of this period)

1968/March 8-9 – Indiana University Jazz Septet (aka “Mrs. Seamon’s Sound Band”) performs at Notre Dame Jazz Festival; is favored to win, but is disqualified from the finals for playing rock music.

1968 – Recorded Score with Randy Brecker [1st commercial recording]

1969 – age 20, moved to New York City

1969 – appeared on Randy Brecker album Score, his first commercial release

1970 – co-founder of jazz-rock band Dreams with Randy, trombonist Barry Rogers, drummer Billy Cobham, bassist Doug Lubahn. Recorded Dreams. Miles Davis attended some gigs prior to recording Jack Johnson.

1971 – recorded Imagine My Surprise, Dreams, produced in Memphis by Steve Cropper

1971 – recorded Chaplin’s Back with Darius Brubeck

1971 – recorded Wild Bird with Hal Galper

1972 – member of rock group White Elephant, recorded White Elephant

1972 – appeared as soloist on James Taylor’s single “Don’t Let Me Be LonelyTonight” on album One Man Dog

1972 – appeared on Todd Rundgren’s album Something/Anything?

1972/November 10 – recorded with Horace Silver, In Pursuit of the 27th Man [remainder of album w/Dave Friedman and no horns was recorded a month earlier]

1973/Spring-Summer – toured with Horace Silver

1973 – recorded Guerilla Band with Hal Galper

1973 – recorded Mind Games, John Lennon

1974/Summer-Fall – toured with Billy Cobham, recorded Crosswinds, Total Eclipse, Shabazz Live (July 4, 1974)

1974/August – Japan with Yoko Ono: 8/5 Kaiseizan Stadium, Karyama; 8/6 Koseinsenkin Hall, Osaka; 8/9 Nagoya City Hall, Nagoya; 8/11 Sun Plaza, Tokyo; 8/12 Koseinenkin Hall, Tokyo; 8/16 Hiroshima Prefectural Gymnasium

1975 – formed Brecker Brothers with brother Randy

1975/January – recorded Brecker Brothers, their first album that was originally intended as Randy’s solo album, contained Randy’s compositions, but Arista insisted on Brecker Brothers band name.

1975 – appeared on Paul Simon’s single “Still Crazy After All These Years”

1975 – appeared on Manhattan Transfer version of Operator

1975 – recorded Funky Thide of Sings, Billy Cobham

1976 – recorded Back to Back, Brecker Brothers

1976/June 8-9 – recorded Mel Lewis and Friends with Mel Lewis, Freddie Hubbard, Hank Jones, Ron Carter, Cecil Bridgewater, Gregory Herbert

1976/September-October – recorded Gate of Dreams with Claus Ogerman

1976/November 11 – recorded Reach Out with Hal Galper

1976 – appeared on Smile, Laura Nyro

1976/September-October – recorded Gate of Dreams, Claus Ogerman

1976/December 26-29 – appeared on Zappa in New York with Frank Zappa [incorrect on Wikipedia as 1978]

1976 – appeared on Clones of Dr. Funkenstein, Mothership Connection with Parliament/Funkadelic

1977-78 – toured with Hal Galper Quintet

1977 – recorded Don’t Stop the Music, Brecker Brothers

1977/March – recorded Tring-A-Ling with Joanne Brackeen

1977/October 31 – recorded You Can’t Live Without It with Jack Wilkins

1977 – appears on disco hit “Native New Yorker,” Odyssey

1978/DATE? – recorded Heavy Metal Bebop Brecker Brothers

1978/January 18, 23 – recorded with Charles Mingus, released as Me, Myself and Eye and Something Like a Bird

1978/February – recorded Speak With a Single Voice with Hal Galper. Later, Galper’s Redux’78 contained more material from this live session

1978/July 7 – recorded In, Out and Around with Mike Nock

1978/July 21-22 – recorded Blue Montreux Vols. I-II at Montreux Jazz Festival

1978/July 23 – recorded Live at Montreux, Ben Sidran

1979/August-September – toured with Joni Mitchell, documented on LP/video, Forest Hills Tennis Stadium NYC 825/79; Shadows and Light video in September 1979 in Santa Barbera, CA

1979 – recorded with Mike Nock, In, Out and Around

1980 – recorded Détente, Brecker Brothers

1980 – appeared on single Same Old Lang Syne, Dan Fogelberg

1980 – toured Europe in July/August, Japan in September with Brecker Brothers

1980/Late – joined Steps, collaborative group with Mike Mainieri – started as Steps w/Japanese Columbia contract, then became Steps Ahead w/US album releases

1980/May 26-29 – recorded with Pat Metheny, 80-81

1980/December 8, 10 – recorded Step By Step, Steps

1981 – recorded Straphangin’, Brecker Brothers

1981 – recorded Smokin’ in the Pit, Steps

1981/January-February – recorded with Chick Corea, Three Quartets with Eddie Gomez, Steve Gadd

1981/September – recorded Paradox, Steps

1981/August-September – toured Europe with Chick Corea 80/81 band

1981/December 1 – recorded Birthday Concert with Jaco Pastorius

1982 – toured extensively with Steps: Japan, Europe, US dates

1982/January 4-8 – recorded Cityscape with Claus Ogerman – saxophone and orchestra

1982/December 9 – completes rehab, clean from that day onward [per 1995 Jazz Journal interiew]

1983 – toured with Steps Ahead; March-April in Europe,

1983 – recorded Steps Ahead

1983/May – recorded Double, Double You, Kenny Wheeler

1983/October 29 – Steps Ahead in Maine? Check…

1984 – toured with Steps Ahead; Europe in March, July; US dates

1984/January-February – recorded Modern Times, Steps Ahead

1985/July – Spain, Italy, France with Steps Ahead

1985 – Recorded Hearts and Numbers, Don Grolnick

1986 – recorded Magnetic, Steps Ahead

1986/January 24 [per SB] – Married Susan

1986/July 30 – Recorded Live in Tokyo, Steps Ahead (released 1994)

1986/March, October – Europe with John Abercrombie

1986/July 30 – recorded Live in Tokyo, Steps Ahead (released in 1994)

1987 – Released first solo album, Michael Brecker, appeared at Newport Jazz Festival in July; extensive touring to promote album. First two tour dates of Michael Brecker Band: Hunt’s Tavern in Montpelier, VT, 3/26, concert at U. Maine Augusta 3/27

1987 – intense work on EWI development, promotion with Akai

1987/June 8-9 – recorded live video with Carly Simon on Gay Head, Martha’s Vinyard, MA

1988 – recorded solo album Don’t Try This At Home

1988/March – 1st Grammy: Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Soloist, Don’t Try This at Home

1988 – many tour dates with Michael Brecker Band

1988/July – Europe tour with Herbie Hancock

1988/December, January 1989 – recorded Claus Ogerman, Featuring Michael Brecker

1989/January 21 – Live performance of Cityscape, Japan

1989 – Daughter Jessica born (same night as Grammy Award)

1990 – recorded solo album Now You See It…Now You Don’t

1990 – touring with Michael Brecker Quartet

1991/March-December – worldwide touring with Paul Simon

1992 – recorded Return of the Brecker Brothers

1992/June-December – two European tours, Japan with Brecker Brothers

1992/November 29-30 – recorded Twin Tenors, Bob Mintzer

1993 – more touring with Brecker Brothers; Europe in June-July

1993/August 1 [per SB] – son, Sam born

1994 – recorded Out of the Loop, Brecker Brothers

1994/March – Two Grammys: Best Instrumental Composition, “African Skies;” Best Contemporary Jazz Performance, Brecker Brothers Out of the Loop

1994 – more touring with Brecker Brothers; Europe in May, October-November

1995/January/February – UK with Don Grolnick; touring with Brecker Brothers

1995/March – Grammy: Best Jazz Instrumental Solo, “Impressions” on Infinity with McCoy Tyner

1995/November -July 1996 –touring with McCoy Tyner; Newport Jazz Festival in August with Tyner

1995/April 12-14 – recorded Infinity, McCoy Tyner

1996 – recorded solo album Tales From the Hudson

1996/February 29, March 1 – recorded Hardbop Grandpop, reunites with Horace Silver

1996/March – Two Grammys: Best Jazz Performance, Individual or Group, for Tales from the Hudson; Best Jazz Instrumental Solo for “Cabin Fever”

1996/June-July – Europe with McCoy Tyner Trio

1996/October-November – Israel, then Europe, US with Michael Brecker Band

1996 – recorded The New Standard with Herbie Hancock

1997 – Europe in Jan./Feb. with Michael Brecker Band; Montreal, then Europe with New Standard band

1997/May 29-30 – recorded Prescription of the Blues, Horace Silver

1998 – recorded solo album Two Blocks From the Edge

1998 – tours with Michael Brecker Group: New Jazz Festival, Euriope in June,July, October-November

1999 – recorded solo album Time Is of the Essence

1999 – tours: Tenor Summit in Montreal, NY Blue Note in December; Elvin Jones in NY, October; US tour with Michael Brecker Quartet in spring, Europe in October-November

2000/June-July – Europe with Brecker-Metheny Special Quartet, US in September

2000/August 2 – performed John Psathas Saxophone Concerto, Bologna, Italy

2000/Oct-Nov – with Kenny Barron Trio in Seoul, Tokyo

2000/December 18-20 – recorded solo album Nearness of You: The Ballad Book

2001 – toured with collaborative group Hancock-Brecker-Hargrove, with music dedicated to Miles Davis and John Coltrane. Brecker performed solo saxophone version of “Naima” nightly.

2001/January 12 – Brecker Bros. with Metropole Orchestra, IAJE

2001/March – Grammy: Best Jazz Instrumental Solo, for “Chan’s Song”

2001/June – Montreal Jazz Fest, featured artist, with own band, solo, organ trio, Steps Ahead reunion, Danilo Perez

2001/July – Europe with Brecker Brothers Acoustic Band

2001/Sept-Oct – US with Directions in Music

2001/September – with Diana Krall, Tokyo

2001/October 25 – Recorded Directions in Music: Live at Massey Hall

2001/December – Chick Corea Three Quartets band, NY Blue Note

2001 – Directions in Music: Live at Massey Hall wins Grammy Award

2002 – Tenor Summit, Birdland, New York

2002/March – Grammy: Best Jazz Instrumental Album, for Directions in Music, co-led with Herbie Hancock, Roy Hargrove

2002/May 14-17 – recorded American Dreams with Charlie Haden, with orchestra

2002/June-July – Directions in Music, Europe

2002/October – Solo Concert, Franfurt, Germany

2003/January 22-24 – recorded solo album Quindectet – Wide Angles

2003/March – Two Grammys: Best Instrumental Arrangement, for “Timbuktu;” Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album, for

2003/November 11 – Records Some Skunk Funk w/WDR Big Band, Germany

2003 – tours with own band, Brecker Brothers, Farmers Market 6/17 and Urban Connection 6/20, Molde Norway; w/Ray Brown 7/5, Salzau, Germany; Saxophone Summit Europe October; Quindectet (first gig?) New York November

2004/January – recorded Saxophone Summit, with Dave Liebman, Joe Lovano

2004/January-February – Quindectet in Japan

2004/August – John Coltrane Tribute, Newport Jazz Festival

2005/January 19 – Quindectet, Zankel Recital Hall, Carnegie Hall

2005/Janary-February – US tour, Directions in Music “Our Times”

2006/August – recorded final solo album, Pilgrimage

2006/March – Two Grammys: Best Jazz Instrumental Solo for “Some Skunk Funk;” Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album for Some Skunk Funk with Randy Brecker, WDR Big Band

2007/January 13 – dies of complications from leukemia, New York City. Funeral on January 15 near his home in Hastings, New York.

2007/February 20 – memorial celebration, Michael Brecker Remembered, held at Town Hall, New York City, featuring Daryl Pitt, Randy Brecker, David Liebman, Pat Metheny, Herbie Hancock/John Patitucci/Jack Dejohnette, Paul Simon, and Sam Brecker

2007/March – Two Grammys: Best Jazz Instrumental Solo for “Anagram;” Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group for Pilgrimage