Tod Dickow & Charged Particles
Play the music of Michael Brecker
Tod Dickow, saxophone
Murray Low, keyboards
Aaron Germain, acoustic & electric bass
Jon Krosnick, drums
Sponsored in part by Jazz in the Neighborhood
Renowned jazz critic Bill Milkowski introduces the event with a short talk and preview of his forthcoming book Ode to a Tenor Titan: The Life and Times and Music of Michael Brecker, the first-ever definitive biography of Michael, coming out this fall.
A celebration of Michael Brecker the composer, the saxophonist, the innovator, and the band leader, by Bay Area group Charged Particles and featuring saxophonist Tod Dickow. Brecker, who passed away in 2007 after a prolonged illness, is beloved for his unique voice and approach to the saxophone. Charged Particles perform a selection of his compositions spanning thirty years, capturing the essence of Brecker’s spirit without slavish adherence to every nuance of his classic recordings. Perhaps because Brecker’s playing was so technically demanding and his compositions are so challenging to perform, Charged Particles’ forthcoming recording Live at the Baked Potato! is the first tribute presenting his small group compositions since his passing almost 15 years ago. No less an authority than Mike’s brother Randy Brecker weighed in with his approval of the recording: “Everyone’s at the top of their Mike game. I found myself pinching my arm to remind myself that Mike is sadly no longer with us.”
Bill Milkowski also wrote an essay about Charged Particles and Tod Dickow’s recording Live at the Baked Potato! of Michael Brecker’s music, which you can download and read here.
Michael Brecker was an innovator on the tenor saxophone whose unique voice and approach to the instrument influenced every performing saxophonist. Winner of 15 Grammy Awards, he was a prolific composer and leader of a range of different bands, as well as a guest soloist with many other ensembles. He was awarded some of the highest honors in jazz: an Honorary Doctorate from the Berklee College of Music and induction into Down Beat Magazine’s Hall of Fame.
He led his own quartet and was co-leader of the Brecker Brothers (with his brother, trumpeter Randy Becker), Steps Ahead (with vibraphonist Mike Mainieri), the Pat Metheny-Michael Brecker “Special Quartet”, and “Directions in Music”, co-led with Herbie Hancock and Roy Hargrove.
He appeared in bands and on recordings led by Horace Silver, drummer Billy Cobham, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Chet Baker, George Benson, Quincy Jones, Charles Mingus, Jaco Pastorius, McCoy Tyner, Dave Brubeck, Elvin Jones, Claus Ogerman, Joni Mitchell, Steely Dan, Lou Reed, Donald Fagen, Dire Straits, Eric Clapton, Billy Joel, John Lennon, Aerosmith, Dan Fogelberg, Frank Sinatra, Frank Zappa, Bruce Springstein, Roger Daltry, Parliament-Funkadelic, Tod Rundgren, Art Garfunkel, and many others. He was a long-term member of the band of NBC’s Saturday Night Live. His musical voice was heard on more than 700 records and at thousands of live concerts around the world.
In January, 2007, the jazz world lost this giant to leukemia at the age of 57.
Based in the Bay Area and soon celebrating their 30th anniversary, Charged Particles crosses stylistic boundaries and blends multiple traditions to create multifaceted jazz. Of the band, reviewers have said: “An electrifying, push-the-limits performance style … A tight and enormously talented trio” (Jazz Times Magazine), “Charged Particles is definitely dazzling” (Jazz and Blues Report), “Fresh, energized contemporary jazz that showcases the trio’s individual technical mastery as well as a cooperative, refined approach to the art form” (Jazz News Magazine), and “Tight interplay was the watchword as the threesome took difficult fusion themes and applied its own twists with spark and personal flair” (Los Angeles Times).
While studying music at the College of San Mateo in the late 70’s and with Don Haas and Gus Gustovson, tenor saxophonist Tod Dickow began playing gigs in the Bay Area with small groups and big bands, and he is a powerful voice on the Bay Area scene today. His playing has been recognized by outstanding soloist awards at Jazz Festivals (Pacific Coast) and was awarded the Outstanding Soloist award by Down Beat Magazine. He has appeared with numerous celebrated artists in many genres of music, including Ella Fitzgerald, Nancy Wilson, Joe Henderson, Bobby Hutcherson, Jackie & Roy, Harry Connick Jr, Steve Allen, Terry Gibbs, Frank Sinatra Jr., Dave Brubeck, and many more. As is true for so many other jazz tenor players, Tod’s playing and composing are powerfully influenced by Michael Brecker. But Tod is unique in having captured the essence of Michael’s spirit on the instrument, making Tod the perfect artist to perform Michael’s compositions with Charged Particles to honor the late-great superstar of the genre.