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Re: The ichael Brecker Archive at William Paterson University

Steve, this is a really beautiful post. I love the message from Dr. Demsey about his background with Brecker and in particular the age-old "don't transcribe me, listen to who I listen to!" anecdote. His note about how college kids today wouldn't have been old enough to hear him play live, or at least they wouldn't have been old enough to appreciate it, hit me, too. I was very lucky to be a freshman at North Texas when Neil Slater brought both Michael and Randy in for a whole week of clinics and a concert, and I was already a young Brecker worshiper by then. The thing that stuck with me the most about that whole week was how damn COOL Michael was -- not, like, too cool for us, but the kind of warm, happy, kind, positive, supportive, loving person that we should all aspire to be. His unbelievable skill was secondary to his extremely admirable spirit. He was really a hero worth looking up to, and I honestly cried the day he died. He is literally the only celebrity whose death caused that reaction to me, I usually have very little attachment to people I don't actually know in real life. (Although I'll admit that Robin Williams came close.)

I just moved away from NYC but I'll be back regularly to visit in-laws and friends, so we'll have to make a trip up to Paterson sometime to see that archive. Thank you for making this post!
 

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Re: The ichael Brecker Archive at William Paterson University

Steve, this is a really beautiful post. I love the message from Dr. Demsey about his background with Brecker and in particular the age-old "don't transcribe me, listen to who I listen to!" anecdote. His note about how college kids today wouldn't have been old enough to hear him play live, or at least they wouldn't have been old enough to appreciate it, hit me, too. I was very lucky to be a freshman at North Texas when Neil Slater brought both Michael and Randy in for a whole week of clinics and a concert, and I was already a young Brecker worshiper by then. The thing that stuck with me the most about that whole week was how damn COOL Michael was -- not, like, too cool for us, but the kind of warm, happy, kind, positive, supportive, loving person that we should all aspire to be. His unbelievable skill was secondary to his extremely admirable spirit. He was really a hero worth looking up to, and I honestly cried the day he died. He is literally the only celebrity whose death caused that reaction to me, I usually have very little attachment to people I don't actually know in real life. (Although I'll admit that Robin Williams came close.)

I just moved away from NYC but I'll be back regularly to visit in-laws and friends, so we'll have to make a trip up to Paterson sometime to see that archive. Thank you for making this post!
What a great post! Thanks. Would it be ok to add it to the comment section of my site under the article? I feel like it adds a lot. Steve
 

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Re: The ichael Brecker Archive at William Paterson University

This is such a wonderful and important project, and thanks to Steve for posting the notice here. I just wanted to add, for those who may not know about it, that there is a "In Honor of Michael Brecker" group on Facebook that is hosted by Louis Gerrits, and has often featured news about the Brecker Archive, as well as YouTube clips, links to articles and whatnot.
 

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Re: The ichael Brecker Archive at William Paterson University

Whoops, Can a moderator add the M to Michael's name in the title. I haven't quite woken up yet......Thanks, Steve
Done. Of course I was tempted to change it to Ishmael Brecker. :)
 

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Re: The ichael Brecker Archive at William Paterson University

I love the message from Dr. Demsey about his background with Brecker and in particular the age-old "don't transcribe me, listen to who I listen to!" anecdote.
That famous remark was a cool, self-effacing moment for Brecker, but it really makes no sense as musical advice. All of music history is characterized by a chain of teacher-student-teacher-student relationships that can be traced back many decades, or even centuries. Many players want to be Michael Brecker's students! That's the natural role for the following generations. It would be a tremendous loss to arbitrarily cut off the line of teachers at the generation that appeared right before Brecker. Everyone can learn from all previous generations. And of course, the Archive itself is a posthumous but emphatic rejection of Brecker's advice not to scrutinize his work carefully.
 

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Dave Demsey is a terrific teacher and a great scholar- he is kind of a local "celeb"- got his undergrad in music at the University of Maine :)
 

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So Cool! - Thanks for sharing.
 

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Someone should get all of Micheals practice notes together and do a book of what he might have suggested for practice . You can often hear what he was practicing in his solos. and I 'll never forget when I looked at a double time of his in the book of Brecker transcriptions and it looked like a plain exercise in one key but done so fast and so well it fit his solo well. I"ll have to remember that a wrong note goes away quickly, but wrong time lasts all night long. Thanks so much for posting this K
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Someone should get all of Micheals practice notes together and do a book of what he might have suggested for practice . You can often hear what he was practicing in his solos. and I 'll never forget when I looked at a double time of his in the book of Brecker transcriptions and it looked like a plain exercise in one key but done so fast and so well it fit his solo well. I"ll have to remember that a wrong note goes away quickly, but wrong time lasts all night long. Thanks so much for posting this K
Dr. Demsey does say he is working on a book of the practice journals in the article........
 
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