Brecker on Brecker

Trumpeter Randy Brecker got on a plane for Reno this morning after having spent the weekend in Central Florida, performing with Chuck Owen and the Jazz Surge. He flew in from Zurich Saturday morning for the culminate of the USF Center for Jazz Composition’s Jazz Masterworks Series. This program, a tribute to Michael Brecker, had been planned with the hope that Michael would attend and perhaps participate in the music. Little did we know at that hopeful time, when Michael’s health seemed to be improving, that he would not be with us.

In conjunction with this concert was the 1st International Jazz Arranging Competition (IJAC), where competitors in the open and Young Artist categories were asked to arrange Michael Brecker original compositions for Big Band. After Michael’s passing, the Center went to the only person it could really imagine filling the guest artist spot on this tribute, Michael’s brother Randy. Randy very graciously squeezed us into his schedule for performances in St. Petersburg, Winter Park, and Tampa as well as a Masterclass on the campus of USF. 100_1132

The performances were extremely poingant, highlighting all original arrangements, save the Gil Goldstein arrangement of “Strap Hangin’” from Some Skunk Funk. Other arrangements were provided by CJC directors Chuck Owen and Dave Stamps as well as IJAC winners Fred Stride and David Peoples in addition to Vince Mendoza. The charts were amazing and Randy was in top form. Guest violinist Rob Thomas also contributed excellent solos.

We are very grateful for Randy’s visit and relish the opportunity to work with him.

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