If news that local jazz musician and organizer Jamie Breiwick has yet another new release comes as a bit of a shock, you're not alone. The ever-occupied, constantly creating Breiwick is a musical force of nature.
His new record, "Music of Thelonious Monk: Friday the 13th," is available only as a free download. Breiwick says the release wasn't something he planned.
"I did not record this gig with the intention of releasing it," says the trumpeter. "With the ease of putting out a diy record these days I thought it was worthy of sharing, but because it was pretty lo-fi I decided to make it free."
Recorded at The Jazz Estate on Murray Avenue with a sort of one-off band that also included tenor saxophonist Jason Todd, pianist Barry Velleman, bassist Jeff Hamann and drummer Brian Ritter, the release features Monk compositions "Let's Cool One," "We See," "Light Blue," "Friday the 13th" and "Trinkle Tinkle."
"In all honesty, it was kind of just a one-off type gig," Breiwick continues. "I hadn't played an actual gig with Jason Todd, who is starting to play jazz again now after an 8-plus-year hiatus."
Todd has long been a fixture on the local music scene, but over the last decade, he's been better known to most for his work with Def Harmonic.
"The planets sort of aligned in getting that particular group of musicians together at the same time/place," wrote Breiwick on his blog.
But even the tribute to the late, great Monk was sort of a happy accident according to Breiwick, who also leads the group Choir Fight.
"I have been in a major Monk phase," he says, "so it just happened to be a Monk-heavy set list."
On his blog, he noted, "Realizing yet one more gap in my studies, the last year and a half or so I have made a conscious effort to study the music of Thelonious Monk; Trying to learn the melodies, chord progressions, playing them on the piano, trying to improvise on the chord progressions (emphasis on trying in all cases). There is a lifetime's worth of content to study in Monk's compositions, beyond just memorizing the notes, chords, scales even."
You can stream or download "Music of Thelonious Monk: Friday the 13th," at Breiwick's Bandcamp site. And while you're there, you ought to just go ahead and bookmark the page, because the musician plans to keep sending you back there in the future.
"I am probably going to keep putting out live stuff in this manner," he says, "more frequently, for cheap or free."
Visit Breiwick's web site for ongoing updates.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.