Now Playing:

Music Memory - Don Breithaupt

Music Memory is sponsored by the Alzheimer Society of Toronto, offering the "Music For Memory Project":  a program based on the effects of music and stimulation on people with dementia, by providing them with iPods containing personalized music. For more information, visit

This week's Music Memory is from Don Breithaupt. Don is an Emmy Award-winning composer, singer, and keyboardist, producer, and author.  He’s written for several television series, films, and for a number of recording artists.  Besides being a first call keyboardist for artists like Kim Mitchell, Don also performs with Brass Tranzit, a celebrated Chicago tribute band, and leads his own group Monkey House.  Don and his brother Jeff composed and created The Breithaupt Brothers’ Songbook, with regular showcases in New York and Toronto, featuring artists like Jackie Richardson, Lea Delaria, Denzal Sinclaire, Sarah Slean, Brent Carver, and Kate McGarry.

“If you're lucky, you get struck by lightning a few times in your musical life.  The earliest lightning bolt that comes to mind for me hit me on a sunny afternoon in the spring of '73.  I was riding my bike along Golden Orchard Drive in Mississauga, with my transistor radio blasting from the basket, as usual, when "Reeling in the Years" by Steely Dan came on.  It was brand new.  It became part of my DNA instantly.  I pulled over and sat on the grass, listening to its freewheeling shuffle, its indelible hook, its fresh chord changes, its stunning guitar solo … it was the sound of the bar being raised a lot, all at once.  It was so good, it made me giddy.

I realize now I was responding to a whole bunch of stuff I didn't yet have words for - groove, irony, improvisation, soul, artistic vision, non-diatonic harmony - but the effect wasn't heady or technical, it was 100% visceral.  I loved it … I have loved it ever since, and Steely Dan continues to inform my own music to this day.

Bike: CCM

Radio: Sanyo

Shoes: North Star”


Thank you to all of you who contributed during our Early Spring Campaign.

You are the reason we are able to return to our award-winning programming.


New York Festivals Awards

The Jazz Messenger

Sign up to receive our weekly e-newsletter, The Jazz Messenger.

Jazz Calendar Login

Forgot your password? Forgot your username?