This Week In Music

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If a list existed of musicians that have had the largest impact on a generation of players, few would argue that Michael Brecker belongs near the top of that list. His breadth of work and his immediately identifiable style alone warrants a place among the most important saxophone players ever. Born on March 29, 1949 in Pennsylvania, Brecker started his career in New York City at the age of 20 playing mainly in R&B style bands. From that experience the Brecker Brothers were formed in the mid-1970's with his older trumpet playing brother Randy. This group would go on to become groundbreaking not just in their unique R&B arrangements, but in their commercial success. Alongside his jazz and R&B career, Brecker was among the most in-demand pop soloists, appearing on over 700 recordings including the likes of James Taylor, Steely Dan, Eric Clapton and Paul Simon. Brecker's solo recordings in the 1990's proved to be a testimony to his depth as a composer and his technical virtuosity. In 2005 Michael was diagnosed with the blood disorder MDS (Myelodysplastic Syndrome). Using his public notoriety he brought a significant amount of attention to the condition. He passed away in January 2007 after a global search to find a stem-cell donor failed. Brecker's legacy lives on both in his work to bring attention to MDS and his body of musical work.


From an iconic album cover with the Tijuana Brass to founding one of the largest recording labels, Herb Alpert has seen and done it all. A lifelong west coast resident, Alpert was born on March 31, 1935 and may be best known for a somewhat racy (at the time) album cover associated with his recording "Whipped Cream & Other Delights". The unique style of the Tijuana Brass (the group he founded) was influenced by the Spanish bull fighting tradition and accompanying mariachi band. His accomplishments of 5 number one hits and 14 platinum albums would alone be a notable accomplishment. Alpert's founding of the A&M record label along with partner Jerry Moss also remains a notable industry accomplishment. Artist such as Soundgarden, Sting, Blues Traveler and Amy Grant have all recorded as part of the A&M artist roster, and although Alpert and Moss sold their interest in A&M in the late 1980's, their contribution to music remains important to this day. So with a cake no doubt covered in whipped cream, we wish a happy birthday to Herb Alpert.


Week of March 14, 2011
Event: Joseph Haydn's Surprise Symphony Is Performed for the First Time March 23, 1792

Birthday: Johann Sebastian Bach Born March 21, 1685

Week of March 7, 2011
Event: Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians Recorded Auld Lang Syne March 7, 1939

Birthday: Leon Bismark (Bix) Beiderbecke March 10, 1903

Week of February 28, 2011
Event: Miles Davis Records "Kind of Blue" on Columbia Records March 2, 1959
Birthday: Frédéric Chopin Marc 1, 1810

Week of February 21, 2011
Event: Duke Ellington Records "The Queen's Suite"
Birthday: Dexter Gordon February 27, 1923

Week of February 14, 2011
Event: Sonny Rollins Records his Title Track "The Bridge" February 14, 1962
Birthday: Buddy DeFranco February 17, 1923

Week of February 7, 2011
Event: Rhapsody in Blue is Performed for the First Time February 12, 1924
Birthday: Marion "Buddy" Childers February 12, 1926

Week of January 31, 2011
Event: Frank Sinatra Debuts on Radio's "Your Hit Parade" February 6, 1943
Birthday: Stanley "Stan" Getz February 2, 1927

Week of January 24, 2011
Event: Original Dixieland Jazz Band Makes the First Jazz Record January 30, 1917
Birthday: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart January 27, 1756