August 25, 2005
Re: Michael Brecker event
Michael & Susan Brecker have bravely and unselfishly stated that many people challenged by blood illnesses need our help. Honoring their request, we are undertaking this effort on behalf of humankind because diseases such as cancer and MDS (myelodysplastic syndrome) know no age, gender, nationality, ethnicity, religion, race or political affiliation. Rest assured, this effort is not political. Simply stated, “We the people” of this world, inspired by the challenge facing one of music’s most eloquent voices – Michael Brecker, are determined to help those in need via an improvised jam session.
We ask that everyone participating do so because they believe in the need to help people and put aside all political or personal agendas. The music and the idea are inspired by the need for action and solutions and not by politics or personal gain. This is not about embryonic stem cell research or any political hot-button issues. It is always the right time for “We the people” to make a personal commitment and act guided by compassion, vision and free will.
We are asking for your help. Needless to say, this is a volunteer based effort. There will be no money or benefits exchanged except for the money directly donated to institutions searching for cures and offering services to those in need. There are no administrative funds or anything else. Ladies, gentlemen, children and colleagues, this is an opportunity to do what we must and give of ourselves the way we often hear about but rarely experience. One hundred percent of the benefits will be directly directed to the organizations of donor’s choices and therefore, we need not worry about accounting or money distribution. Our hands will be busy making music and contributions.
The jam session plan, improvised (in typical jazz fashion), is as follows:
The AFM leadership is moving mountains as we speak to secure partnerships with broadcasters, musicians, actors and institutions. AFM national leadership members Tom Lee, Dick Gabriel and Sam Folio and Local 655 leaders Cliff Walker, Steve Roitstein, Dan Warner and Lee Levin have stepped up in a major way.
Miami Dade College’s leadership including Kendall & Homestead Campus President Dr. Wasim Shomar, College President Dr. Eduardo Padron and North & Hialeah Campus President Dr. Jose Vicente, Music Business Chair William Kreitner and others have offered technical and facilities support. The MDC music business and production faculty, Richard Rose, Steve Quinzi and Steve Roitstein and our students will be helping to coordinate and support the effort. Film director and MDC Cable-Tap director Drew Cummings has volunteered to help with the film, streaming and editing aspects of the event.
We are asking Phil Ramone (New York), Quincy Jones (Los
Angeles), Emilio Estefan (Miami), Nashville, John Burk (Bay Area) and other
producers around the globe to produce the segments in their respective cities.
The concerts are to be a world based jazz jam session simulcast from New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Nashville, Oakland, Chicago, San Antonio, New Orleans, Tokyo, Paris, London and more. Artists will perform in a sequential relay starting in New York and passing it to Miami, Tokyo, New Orleans and wherever one after another. The order, unlike the cause, is not important. The idea is to perform one song here, one song there and one song everywhere. An improvised event that is all music, all free and all in benefit of those in need. If your city is not on the list, please except my apologies and place it on the list. The crawl on the screen will list phone numbers and website addresses of participating organizations. Donors of any type will be able to contact the institution of their choice.
The artists will perform and a complimentary website will show all participants’ names, on stage and off. On the website, each name will be hyperlinked to an institution of their choice. Folks, this is designed to be as transparent and focused on the mission as it can be. As Quincy Jones and Phil Ramone so eloquently state, and Michael Brecker so magnificently demonstrates, “Please check the egos at the door”.
We are asking artists and musicians such as Andy Garcia, Gloria Estefan, Jon Secada, Michael Bolton and others to join us and help host the events in respective cities.
I am certain, though speaking out of turn and without fear, that many of Michael’s colleagues including James Taylor, Pat Metheny, Joni Mitchell, Michael Bolton, Mike Stern, Joey Calderazzo, John Patitucci, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Bob James, Bob Mintzer, Peter Graves and jazz musicians and supporters such as Woody Allen, Bill Cosby, Playboy, Heineken and others will join or support the cause. To the minute and the person, everyone contacted has said yes — no questions asked. Hundreds of us are teaming up in a brave and non-traditional manner and that is a powerful force indeed.
Our goal is a television, radio, Internet, satellite and phone cast transmission. If the event cannot be synchronously broadcast, cities will be asked to submit a video or audio-recorded performance and those performances will be compiled into the broadcast. If we don’t have the film, we can create one with pictures and interviews of people in need. In other words, the schedule is flexible but the deadline is yesterday. A DVD can be produced and offered to all organizations gratis. If you want to play, you have to pay. The fee for participation is giving of yourself and your talent because it is the right thing to do. Everyone involved is required to volunteer their services and no one profits except those organizations helping people in need.
If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to contact any of us via e-mail or telephone. Please send us an e-mail address where you may be reached and you will be added to the distribution list for all pertinent information. We ask everyone, including those friends in the press who have been so helpful, to respect the privacy and confidentiality of participant’s e-mail addresses, phone numbers and comments. This is a group effort singularly focused on the goal of helping those in need.
We plan on repeating this event every year and Michael Brecker will be the featured performer as often as he chooses.
Thank you for your consideration and participation and please pass it on.
Professor of Music Business and Production - Miami Dade College (MDC)
(305) 389-6866 cellular - (305) 237-0593 MDC
Improvisation: a performance given extempore without planning or preparation. (http://www.wordreference.com/definition/improvisation)
Yes we can and yes we will.