Michael Brecker (1949-2007): Pilgrimage
Next to John Coltrane, Michael Brecker – a 13-time GRAMMY winner in a career that spans more than three decades – is unquestionably the most influential tenor player in the history of jazz. As a result of his stylistic and harmonic innovations, he is the most studied contemporary jazz musician in music schools throughout the world today. Sadly, after a two-and-a-half-year battle with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and leukemia, Brecker passed away on January 13, 2007.
While in the midst of his debilitating illness, however, Brecker persevered. His work in the studio at the time of his death includes some of the finest music he has ever recorded. Set for release on Heads Up International Pilgrimage (HUCD 3095) features the all-star lineup of pianists Herbie Hancock and Brad Mehldau, guitarist Pat Metheny, drummer Jack DeJohnette and bassist John Patitucci.
Pilgrimage, chronicles Brecker’s final journey – one in which the music itself served as a sustaining force. Those present in the studio recall moments when the rigors of recording were so physically taxing – nearly to the point of collapse – for the leader whose health was compromised. In the end, it was Brecker’s sheer will, and a dedication to completing the recording, that pushed him, his colleagues and the project as a whole across the finish line.
While the artist himself may be gone, the passion of life burns in the recording that survives him. “Mike just left us some of the greatest music of his career – and of his life,” says Metheny. “Mike’s efforts to get his final message out to all of us – which is really what it is, a message – will go down as one of the great codas in modern music history. What happened in the studio during those few days in August is impossible to describe. It’s one of the most amazing, powerful, unbelievable things that I – and all who were there – have ever experienced or will ever see.”
PressestimmenS. Richter in Stereo 7 / 07: "Eine Besetzung großer Namen, die mithilft, dass "Pilgrimage" zu einem mehr als wür- digen Abschied wird. Denn Brecker hört man die schwere Krankheit keineswegs an, und das macht dieses Testament noch beeindruckender. Eine CD, die keineswegs schwermütig ist, die nie unheilvoll vom Ende spricht, sondern voll Wärme und Zuversicht ihre Pilgerfahrt ins Unbekannte beginnt."
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