WHEN is a break-up not a break-up

When the intention was never there - such as the case with the inimitable Brecker brothers.

Saxophonist Michael and horn player Randy went their separate ways in 1981. A pioneer of the electronic wind instrument, Michael has become a household name in the US due to his association with Paul Simon. Randy achieved a status in his own right by joining forces with Jaco Pastorius.

''We hadn't really decided to break up for as long as we did. The original idea was to take a relatively short break and pursue other things. We just got busy. The next thing we knew it was 10 years later,'' said Randy.

It would have been a perfect name for their reunion album, Ten Years Later. Instead, it is simply titled Return of the Brecker Brothers.

Although Michael and Randy started talking seriously three years ago, ''things'' got in the way.

''Michael was contacted by Paul Simon to take part in the Rhythm of the Saints tour,'' Randy said.

The offer was not something Michael could turn down.

''I was thrilled that he asked. I was thrilled to do it. The tour went beyond my highest expectations. It was one of the greatest experiences in my professional career in every way. He was great to work with and assembled a fantastic band. It was a joyful experience. We played a lot of places and covered a lot of territory,'' he said of the tour which included Hongkong.

Michael played here with his band three years ago during the Select Live Under the Sky jazz festival.

While Michael always had a huge interest in African music, playing with Simon's band gave him a first hand opportunity to liaise with African musicians, as well as to visit the country.

''I walked away with a much greater appreciation of west African music. I really studied it on tour. It's affected the way I play and write, and probably will continue to affect it as long as I live,'' said Michael.

This was something Randy had to adjust to when the two rejoined forces.

''He was intrigued and surprised by it, but I know he liked it,'' said Michael. ''But Randy's spent a lot of time in Brazil. It's reflected in his writing. We both tried to use our experiences. At the same time we wanted to make a record to continue fromwhere we left off.'' Despite the musical leaps, Randy felt time had lubricated their working relationship.

IT DIDN'T feel like 10 years had gone by. We've grown a lot, but it was easier to collaborate than ever before. We've collaborated more than on any other record. It was really a joint effort,'' he said.

We've always enjoyed playing together. We have a tight unique chemistry. It's quite intuitive. It's something that's always been there. We've grown up listening to the same music, but at the same time we are quite different personalities. We complement each other and it works out well,'' Michael said.

The two have started a world tour, including Asia for the first time as a duo. Interested in tapping into the huge potential market here, they are excited to bring their brand of music to a new breed of listeners.

''It feels great,'' said Randy. ''We are looking forward to coming to Hongkong, and various other places we've never been. Hopefully, a lot of people will want to hear us.'' The brothers have a lineup of first class musicians, and Michael will have his electronic wind instrument in tow.

''It's a lot of fun. The music is powerful. The electronic wind instrument is capable of doing anything. The sky is the limit. The word I keep coming back to is dynamic.'' The Brecker Brothers will perform at the Academy of Performing Arts on March 19 at 8 pm.