"Pilgrimage" by Michael Brecker

Always Missed! Never Forgotten! Thanked Every Day!

Saturday, March 29, 2014 

Talking about Michael is never easy for me. The Day of his Passing on January 13th is the hardest...

Birthdays are usually Happy Occasions, and then, after a person is gone, Birthday's become Anniversaries to Remember that individual. Today, Michael would have been 65 Years Old!

A few days ago I came across this video of Joe Zawinul talking about Jaco Pastorius


I found a lot of DEPTH in Maestro Zawinul's words! In some ways they are similar to how I feel about Michael...  Those words inspired me so much, that, for the First Time Ever, I Transcribed someone's Speech literaly:

"A Person Like That Is Never Gone... Because Time is only.. Time, as we know it, is not really Time. I think there is only One Time, a One Time, and When You Speak About Someone, and You Think About Someone, In The Moment NOW, then That's What It Is NOW!‚ not that it WAS almost 20 Years Ago, but that it is NOW! And therefore These People WILL NEVER DIE! And there is Nothing To Miss‚ it's The Whole Thing‚ It Was Fun, you known‚ and One Should Never Cry That It's Over With, ONE SHOULD BE HAPPY THAT IT WAS!" 

In case you wonder about my use of Capitalization in that Speech Transcription, it was my way of saying that some of those Joe Zawinul Words were good enough to be Song Titles!!! And the Concept of the Song Titles reminded me about one of my Conversations with Michael...

Thank You, YouTube for providing that Speed = 0.25 Option behind the Settings Button in the Lower Right Corner Under the videos! Hey, if you are a musician, and want to hear something slowly, that Button can be very useful! Hopefully it'll come to YouTube App on iPhones, iPads etc. soon... I know Michael would have LOVED that Button...

On A Lighter Note, here as a True Story that I know Michael would have enjoyed...

 Another Case of "Can't Make It Up!!!" 

On 10/17/12, as I was doing some cleaning at home, I decided to take another look at the papers before throwing them into garbage! I noticed this Electronic Manual:

Published by Pioneer Electronic Corporation. Copyrighr @ 1995 Pioneer Electronic Corporation All righls reserved

I couldn't figure it out right away which product it was for, and thus I was curios, in case I might need it later! So I quickly glossed over some Pictures-Diagrams in that Manual, and I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw this on Page 27:

"Happy Birthday!

Mr. M. Brecker"

Just like Michael and I used to say:

Can't Make It Up!!!

Here are 2 more Scanned Pages from that Manual... I've Inserted Arrows so that you can Easily See what JUMPED AT ME on Pages 27 and 28!!!!

Maybe I sometimes pay too much attention to the details, plus that whole Concept of "Can't Make It Up!", but that Page Number 27, did remind me of "In Pursuit of the 27th Man" album by jazz pianist, Horace Silver!

But, as far as that Japanese Manual, this is what I think happened:

In 1995 someone in Japan was working for Pioneer. 

That person was fan of Michael Brecker.

That Person, or Persons, who created that Manual sneaked in Name "Mr. M. Brecker" as a PLACEHOLDER instead of JOHN DOE, or another GENERIC NAME!

Here is an Explanation from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Doe

The names "John Doe" for males, "Jane Doe" or "Jane Roe" for females, or "Jonnie Doe" and "Janie Doe" for children, or just "Doe" non-gender-specifically are used as placeholder names for a party whose true identity is unknown or must be withheld in a legal action, case, or discussion.[1] The names are also used to refer to a corpse or hospital patient whose identity is unknown. This practice is widely used in the United States and Canada, but is rarely used in other English-speaking countries including the United Kingdom itself, from where the use of "John Doe" in a legal context originates. The names Joe Bloggs or John Smith are used in the UK instead,[citation needed] as well as in Australia and New Zealand. In India "Ashok Kumar" is used as an alternative.[2]

So... Today, on this rainy New York City Saturday, March 29, 2014, I am asking the same question again:

What's so GENERIC about the Name - "Mr. M. Brecker", particularly in Japan, in some Product Manual - User Guide in 1995?!

My Answer remains - NOTHING, except this Fact that Someone in Japane loved Michael!!!

You can try asking this Question when talking to a Jazz Lover, particularly a sax player, anywhere in the World:

"Who are some of Your Favorite Jazz Musicians, particularly Sax Players?"

The  Name, Michael Brecker, would very likely come up among the "Generic" Answers!!!

In any case, I don't think that -- "Mr. M. Brecker" -- in that Product Manual - User Guide was a typo, or an accident. Obviously, some person, or persons, in Japan in 1995 really loved Michael!

It'd be interesting to find out the Actual Story about that Manual, and how Michael's Name ended up in it! Please let me know!!!!

Meanwhile, as Michael and I used to say, this is yet another Case of... (Click on these words!!!):

Can't Make It Up!!!

I'll conclude this post with this Song's Video that had become a popular way among Michael's Fans to express their Love and Gratitude:

Brecker - Metheny - Every Day I Thank You


Monday, January 13, 2014

Michael is gone 7 years ago today! It's scary how Time flies!

When I think about TIME, or even hear that word - TIME - I often recall my HERO, Michael Brecker, and this Composition Title of his, "Time Is Of The Essence". To me, word  - TIME - in that Title is not just about drums, bass, rhythm etc...

Recently, when I first heard this Quote by Nelson Mandela -

"Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again."

I instantly thought of Michael and of his "Big Fight..." After all that chemotherapy, hospital stays, ups and downs, Michael Got Up!!!, and recorded his "Pilgrimage" Album, which posthumously earned him Grammy # 14, or 15, of 15 Grammies Total...

But even if Michael never won a single Grammy, Michael has EARNED the Love, Admiration of countless Musicians around the world! It's the kind of True R.E.S.P.E.C.T. from one's colleagues that can not be measured with YouTube or Facebook Likes! But it's still nice to see all that Michael Brecker Love on Facebbook and elsewhere....

In Honor of Michael Brecker

Michael Brecker

Yes, January 13th, is not an easy day for many of us... It's easier to post "Happy Birthday, Michael Brecker" on March 29th, and be perceived in a less Morbid Light on Facebook, Twitter etc.... But to me, both those Dates offer an Opportunity to Acknowledge Michael, and thus Celebrate his Life, Music, Humanity, through Self-Reflection, Atonement, Thanksgiving, a Reset, etc. 

Then, it's Back to PRACTICING, cause, as the Great Charlie Parker said - "Now's The Time"!!! And so I continue with my Music Dreams, and that is how I Pay Tribitue to Michael - by Getting Up!!!!

Every Day I Thank You, Michael Brecker! 


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Today is 6 Years since Michael's Body left This World, but he is always in my Heart!

When I practice my saxophones, I feel Michael's presence, and we talk... It gets deep in those Moments of Non-Verbal Communications... Memories... Sensory Recalls from our actual conversations during his "Big Fight" (see my previous posts on this page)... It's amazing how all that Connectivity is happening at the same time as I am playing, as Time flies even faster, as Michael and I talk...

But, even if I am not playing, or listening to music, I still feel Michael near me each day! We talk on various topics... I love The Calmness of GRATITUDE that I feel for having had the Privilege of becoming Michael's Friend!!!

See this Piece #6 in the following Video. It is a Masterpiece Composition by Mike Mainieri called "Sarah's Touch". To me, that Composition and Performance are a Perfect Sonic Embodiment of word GRATITUDE! Here it is in this Video, Starting at 35 minutes 42 seconds:

06. Sarah's Touch - Mike Mainieri

Here is a Shortened Link to YouTube Video of that Entire Magnificent Performance:

Michael Brecker Steps Ahead In Copenhagen's Carlsberg Glyptotek in 1983.Completo

Please click on "About" to see the Full List of Credits for that Video!


Thursday, March 29, 2012...

Michael entered this This World 63 years ago today... I am forever grateful for his friendship!


Friday, January 13, 2012...

Today is 5 Years since Michael left This World! His music will speak forever beyond words, time etc!!! He is always in my heart...

Michael Brecker in Japan from Peter Freed on Vimeo.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011...

Michael Brecker would have been 62 Years Old today! He'll forever continue to INSPIRE countless many around the world!

This 1996 Video Interview http://bit.ly/gfzwdt is a priceless glimpse into Michael's Mind and Heart... See More Interviews in this Video Playlist http://bit.ly/hVvWbp


Tuesday, January 25, 2011...

More activity on "More to Live For" Documentary. More Info on Facebook. Also see below, in May 5, 2010 post...


Thursday, January 13, 2011....

Today is 4 years since Michael left this world, but I still say:


Since Jazz is not as popular around the world as some other kinds of music, and time doesn't stand still, I thought I'd mention this, just in case my "MICHALE WON" expression didn't translate itself clearly enough throughout this page, and in my other writings! Here is what I tried to say:


The musicians, and those familiar with the history and lyrics of "My Way", a song made famous by Frank Sinatra, probably understood it without my help. Same will be true for those who are curious enough. The parallels, and the rest speaks for itself, as does Michael's music, which will go on forever!


May 5, 2010...

I've posted the following update on my "I Remember You, Michael Brecker!!!" Facebook Page...

"MORE TO LIVE FOR" documents Michael Brecker's battle with cancer!

Please spread the word!






I am Following it through all of the above links....

January 13, 2010...

I posted a few words about Michael on my "I Remember You, Michael Brecker!!!" Facebook Page...

January 13, 2009...

It's been 2 years since Michael "Returned To Forever" (Jazz musicians pun), but I still say:


and I'll NEVER take that back!

I bet there is not one day on this Earth when someone doesn't play Michael's recording, or watches him in a video, or tries to sound like him, or at least thinks of Michael, and credits him as their influence!!!

Thus, "MICHAEL WON!!!" is a DAILY THING, and and that will go on FOREVER, cause that's how long Michael's MUSIC will be around:)!


It's never easy for me to come back to this page.... The Flood of Memories starts, and it's hard to decide what would be the best way to organize the content here... But then, this is not meant to be a "quick slick polished presentation"...

This is personal..., flashbacks, events, related links etc., that fans of Michael might find informative...



I am not planning another Michael Memorial-Tribute-Fan site here... There are already some great ones out there, for which I am so grateful! Among them are:

iBrecker - A web project endorsed by Michael Brecker

michaelbreckerliverecordings.com (Thank you, Louis Gerrits!)

Plus Facebook etc..., YouTube and on and on... 


click on the following link to see YouTube Search Results for "Michael Brecker"...

Maybe eventually I'll get a few more words off my chest... There is enough there for a book, but who's got that kind of time? For now here is a little something for the Time Capsule:

Even though this event already took place, I don't have it in me to Delete this announcement. Its concept doesn't expire. Posting it here, and the related "email blitz" was my way of helping Michael's sister keep her word to Michael...



On Saturday, April 26, 2008, 12-3 PM

A Bone-Marrow Drive  

took place at the Norris Homes Community Center, at 1915 N. 11th St., in Philadelphia, PA, where the need for donors is as great as the fear...

“Brecker told his sister he wanted the drive to help African Americans, because it didn't seem right that he had a better chance for a match than they did.

Referring to pianist friends Herbie Hancock and McCoy Tyner, he said, "They have as great a need as I do," his sister recalls.” 

Please read these articles:

Bone Marrow Drive Honors Philly Jazz Legend

Unfortunately, the following 2 articles have been archived as paid content, under these original  titles:

At late jazz great's request, a drive to recruit minority stem-cell donors...

A sister's promise fulfilled

Hey, the journalists, like all of us, gotta get paid, except, give this topic, I wish they made an exception...

Click on this map for Google Directions


"The Big Fight" is over!!! -- Michael won!!!

"It's never too late to eulogize, it's never too soon to organize!"...

"I'll scream now, and will apologize later!" ...

Those were some of my Battle Cries-Slogans during


a painful and crazy time ...


He will always be missed, he will never be forgotten...

Audio Interviews...

Michael Brecker  Interview, 1987

NPR -- Brecker's 'Pilgrimage' a Welcome, Not a Farewell - article & audio

Michael Brecker Tribute, BBC Radio, January 24, 2007

Michael Brecker Interview - date unknown 

Michael Brecker - David Fishel Interview

I Remember Michael...

Sometimes during Michael's Big Fight (2005-2006), when I spent long hours on the phone, trying to help him any way I could, in between doing my Michael Email "Blitzes", I would need a break. So, I'd go to the East River, and practice, if the weather wasn't too cold, facing Michael's Hospital Room on "The Other Side"... Sometimes on those occasions, I'd get an email from him, and I'd email him a bunch of photos from my laptop. Sometimes I'd do some free weights -- hey, Michael's fighting spirit was contagious! We were cheerleading each other! The whole thing was so deep!!!

Technology was one of the passions Michael and I shared... Being online on my Apple Powerbook G4 laptop, through Palm Treo 700p was a big deal back then in 2006... Makes a fun hang in a hammock, particularly in Hawaii...!!!

By the end of 2006, I needed a break, and badly... So, in January 2007, I flew to San Francisco, and I had a blast there: Macworld, etc. I tried to inhale as much of that Magic City as possible!!! Michael called it a "Unique place!"  

Friday, January 12, 2007, was my last night in San Francisco. I pointed my camera straight at the Sun, and took that Sunset with me for Eternity... As I was shooting those photos on the beach, I got pretty emotional... Michael was definitely on my mind, as I was about to fly back to New York overnight... I felt a heavy sadness, and it was not only because I too was "leaving my heart in San Francisco"... I couldn't stop thinking about Michael, and the year 2006 that just passed: donor searches, transfusions, chemo therapy, losing my dog... I felt some kind of premonition, thinking: what if that was Michael's last night on Earth?!...  The dogs running deliriously off the leashes, kicking the sand -- that didn't "help" either....

The next day, on Saturday, January 13, 2007, soon after I landed in New York, I got a call from Michael's manager, and a great friend, Darryl Pitt... The Big Fight was over!!! Michael was gone a couple of hours earlier! That was one of the worst days of my life, as well as an End of an Era, and such similar clichés.... Yet, soon afterwards, a different "headline" came to me:

The Big Fight is over!!! -- Michael won!!!

With everything that Michael has been through in that Big Fight, he managed to sneak into a recording studio for a some more stolen moments, and the result was his last recording Pilgrimage, which earned him his 14th and 15th Grammy!!! But, with, or without all his Grammies, one of the things that amazed me most about Michael was his family and friends!!! They were his Dream Team!!! Meeting some of them at Michael's son's Bar Mitzvah, where I had the Honor of Honors to perform, at Michael's request (promise kept!) -- that  will forever remain one of the highlights of my life, in every respect, and not just musically speaking!

As they say, "the show must go on", and so does life... Besides the obvious -- HEALTH, memories and time are among our most precious gifts...

Whenever I pack before a trip --  a suite case , or my backpack (see last photo above), I always think of Michael. I can only imagine how many frequent miles he has flown many times around the world! I can only imagine how many photos and videos he has shot, and how many people he has touched both through his music and personally... And I am sure all of that ended up in his music, which will go on forever!

Below is an excerpt from the last email I received from Michael while at Macworld, during that San Francisco trip... It was 3 days before he died...

From: Michael Brecker <xxxxxx@xxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 10 Jan 2007 15:49:54 -0500
To: "ARKADY.COM" <xxxxx@xxxxx>

The iPhone is really a revolution, as Jobs says. I still haven't gotten to the part where it shows you how to dial a number!!! Or write an email. It's so coool though... leaves all of the others in the dust.

I can't wait to hear your full report on everything.

Much love my friend,

He wasn't feeling well, but chose to talk about that?! I don't think iPhone was just a welcome distraction. I also think that he wanted me to have a great time in San Francisco, knowing that I needed that... How unselfish was that?!

I was so happy to see him being excited by the iPhone... I saw Michael's Tech Passions not as just some entertainment hobby... His use of technology was an artistic form of self-expression! Like many Mac users, he was a Think Different type, like these guys, and so many more...

Michael's technology interest fueled his creativity, and thus  the passion for life, and around it went! It was my honor and privilege to help him keep that particular "cycle" going..., particularly on the dark days of his Big Fight!

With the iPhone 2.0, 3G TZUNAMI coming, where the sky will be the limit!!! , it will be hard not to think of Michael... I don't think that habit of mine will ever go away...

No matter how dark it got during his Big Fight, Michael was always on the look out for new ideas, keeping his eyes and ears in "Wide Angle mode", and zooming in at the same time!

Sometimes all those memories feel like a movie, but I know it was not, it was real! During our talks we often used this expression:

Can't Make It Up!!!

I don't think that habit of mine will ever go away either... Every day in my life I use it, and I know Michael is getting a chuckle out of all this tech explanation of mine, just like he used to... -- we did get some laughs in! Hey, I am not the only one with the Battle Cries-Slogans...

Metaphorically speaking, or not... Now, Michael is on a much Larger Capacity Hard Drive, in a Bigger Folder! Here on Earth we can only speculate about the OS (Operating System) that Drive is running under! It's probably very different... Or maybe out there, on The Other Side, they don't even bother with the Hard Drives, cause their File Formats are so much hipper than what we on Earth know as the Invisible Files on Mac! Knowing Michael, I know his laughing under that OS too, and his is likely laughing reading this paragraph ! Michael Returned to Forever (hey, I love puns, as you can see)... No more pain... And now, I don't need email, cell phone, Skype, iChat, or even words, to talk to him anytime!

As to my Battle Cries-Slogan,"I'll Scream Now, and I will Apologize Later"! -- should I really be apologizing for trying to help a friend?

When he first called me about his Big Fight, I was shocked, and pretty emotional. As I was walking on the street, talking on my hands-free microphone on the cell phone, it was pretty noisy... I remember talking a lot, and loudly, telling Michael -- "Elvin, Trane, Miles, Bird, -- Let them wait!!!"... Who knows, maybe they couldn't?! I told him -- "I will fight for you like I did for my brother, and try to win against God this time!!!" It was my brother Alex, who introduced me to Michael's music within hours on my first day in New York!!!

And so, there I was -- Michael was calling me on his cell phone, from the hospital, and I was talking to him while walking along the East River, without even knowing that his windows on Manhattan East Side were facing me across the river!

Can't Make It Up!!!

I don't know if anyone will ever read all this stuff, and bother clicking on any of these links... Hey, these days, I hear that most people just scroll through the pages, look at some photos and videos, and move on...  Oh well...

I wish I had a dollar for each time I was told -- "You should write a book!" And that's years before I even met Michael.... But who knows, maybe I will someday?! Or maybe I'll just add some more stuff here, Time and Conscience permitting?!...

I could go on and on about Michael, who had become an even bigger HERO of mine, after I got to know him... How I wish I could have met him earlier! Blessed are those who have... But no matter what, I will never ever regret being part of his Big Fight! I carry him in my heart always and forever! I was blessed to share my thoughts, poetry, music, photos, and HEART with him...

Can't Make It Up!!!


Got more audio interviews? Please email me!


All Photos, web design © ARKADY.COM


Made on a Mac

Concept, Web Design, Copyright © ARKADY.COM

"Can't Make It Up!!!"