Michael Mordecai celebrates 50 years as a musician in Austin, Texas.
Michael Mordecai, trombone player and music business entrepreneur is celebrating 50 years as a musician in Austin, Texas. He is one of many who came to the city to attend college and never left. He was born and raised in Denton, TX where he played with the North Texas Lab Band while still in high school and fell in love with jazz and the art of trombone. Michael owns BBA/Management and Booking (since 1973) and independent record label, Fable Records (since 1975). BBA now books over 10,000 gigs per year with downbeats in every time zone, every day of the year. Fable Records is one of the oldest independent labels in Texas proudly and exclusively presenting Austin music and Austin musicians.
Michael plays many styles of trombone from jazz, rock & classical to country, blues, and Broadway. This musical versatility has led him to perform and record with Ray Charles, Carole King, Willie Nelson, Maynard Ferguson, Manhattan Transfer, Aretha Franklin, Jerry Jeff Walker, Eliza Gilkyson and many more. Music to Michael is vibrations. “People are vibrations-everything is vibrations. Music is the universal language that connects everything.” In Michael’s opinion, music and art should reflect all aspects of life.
Mordecai is an original member of the Legendary Beto y los Fairlanes, celebrating 40 years in Austin as the “International Band of Texas” and inducted into the Austin Chronicle’s Music Hall of Fame earlier this year. Not being able to remember the actual first gig, the band has been celebrating their 40th anniversary a series of 40 anniversary shows that began at El Mercado over two years ago referred to as “40moons.”
BBA/Management and Booking contracts local pit musicians for top Austin venues: Bass Concert Hall, the Long Center, the Paramount Theatre as well as ACL Live and books musicians coast to coast for restaurants and clubs including the Elephant Room, an Austin jazz staple where Michael has hosted the Monday Night Jazz Jam since 1991. The Elephant Room was named as one of the top 10 Jazz Clubs in the nation by Winton Marsalis and listed by DOWNBEAT Magazine as one of the top 100 jazz venues in the world. There will be a special celebration and live recording at the JAM on Monday, September 24, 2018 at 9:30pm.
Michael was drawn to the trombone while watching a high school football game from Sara Jane Gaston’s tree house, which had an end zone view of the football field. At halftime, the Denton High School Bronco band marched onto the field with the trombones on the front row leading the way to the roar of the crowd. That’s what he wanted to be. He started playing trombone at age 10.
UNT scholarships were tempting but Michael had already fallen in love with Austin. Joining the newly formed UT Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Rod Kennedy contractor Dick Goodwin, he met Robert “BETO” Skiles, Dr. John Mills (UT Jazz Composition professor), Tomas Ramirez (Jerry Jeff Walker), Mitch Watkins (Leonard Cohen), Ron Brown (Diana Ross), Rob Lockart (Kurt Elling), Paul Ostermayer (Leonard Cohen), Paul Blakemore (Concord Records), Bill Ginn (Leonard Cohen), and formed friendships and collaborations fostering a number of influential local bands who became mainstays of the Austin music scene. He's had the joy of working with local artists like Starcrost, Extreme Heat, The Brew, Dan Del Santo, Walter Hyatt, Ray Benson, Jazzmanian Devil, Bad Mutha Goose, Marcia Ball, Dino Lee (aka Mr. Fabulous), Native Sun, Kat Edmonson, and so many others.
Mordecai has served as president of the Texas Music Association and was a founding board member of the Texas Chapter of the Recording Academy. He has served on the Austin Musician’s Union board and received recognition for serving on the City of Austin’s Music Commission the year the official city slogan “Live Music Capital of the World” was adopted.
He has appeared both as a guest artist and as a guest speaker for colleges around the state including the University of Texas at Austin, Texas Tech University, Texas State University and the University of North Texas. He has taught music business courses and seminars at Austin Community College, Texas State University and MediaTech Institute in Austin.
Today he regularly shares the stage with Beto y los Fairlanes as well as Count Basie drummer, Butch Miles, Tribal Tech’s Kirk Covington and critically acclaimed jazz composer John Mills in the band Times Ten.
While Austin dramatically changed, Mordecai has remained the same for 50 years. He plays trombone, finds work for musicians, and plays softball on Tuesdays…that’s it! He continues to be inspired by being alive and believes that for every micro-second of our existence there is a most positive action to be chosen and lives by the mantra, “betterfy the planet.”