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Michael Brecker: Pilgrimage & Seraphic Light

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Michael Brecker Pilgrimage Heads Up International 2007 Saxophone Summit Seraphic Light Telarc 2008

Michael Brecker (tenor sax) was a musicians' musician, with jaw-dropping chops and a unique and highly influential harmonic and melodic style. Pilgrimage, his last recording, was made shortly before he passed on Jan. 13th, 2007 from myelodysplastic syndrome. Despite failing health this is a fine effort, one his best. The band is A-1: Pat Metheny ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Michael Brecker: Pilgrimage

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Michael Brecker is said to be the most influential tenor saxophonist in jazz since John Coltrane. A thirteen-time Grammy award winner who has achieved numerous other honors, he was a fixture on the scene from the early 1970s until his death earlier this year. With his brother, trumpeter Randy Brecker, Michael Brecker performed with Horace Silver's quintet before the pair started their own fusion group, The Brecker Brothers. Brecker later joined drummer Steve Gadd in forming Steps Ahead with vibraphonist Mike Mainieri. In addition to a successful solo career, Brecker has performed and/or recorded with contemporary jazz ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Michael Brecker: Pilgrimage

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If there's any solace to be gained from the dramatic, heart-rending final months of Michael Brecker's life, it's that perhaps some of the attention bestowed upon this towering musician and exemplary human being will be directed to the vital African-American art form that he influenced and contributed to. As recently as 1990, the average life span of jazz musicians was estimated to be 43, with the cases of saxophone legends Charlie Parker (who died at the age of 34) and John Coltrane (40) more often held up as typical rather than exceptional. It's difficult to recall the case of a ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Michael Brecker: Pilgrimage

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Tenor saxophonist Michael Brecker lost his ongoing bout with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), a rare bone marrow cancer, in January 2007. Pilgrimage provides one last chance to hear him in the company of like-minded souls. Joined by a who's who of mainstream jazz royalty, guitarist Pat Metheny, pianists Herbie Hancock and Brad Mehldau, bassist John Patitucci and drummer Jack DeJohnette accompany the saxophonist on this superlative session.

Brecker began his career as a session player in the early 1970s, something he continued to do throughout his career, to the chagrin of jazz purists. Having accompanied everyone from James Taylor ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Michael Brecker: Pilgrimage

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Michael Brecker Pilgrimage Heads Up International 2007

The importance of saxophonist Michael Brecker's final recording, Pilgrimage, is densely multidimensional. The romantically inclined will attach significance to the fact that the nine compositions were conceived and recorded while Brecker was aware of the gravity of his final illness. Pilgrimage falls into an artistic/musical category that includes such disparate music as Mozart's Requiem, Puccini's Turandot, Billie Holiday's Lady In Satin and Johnny Cash's American Recordings, Volumes 5 & 6. All of these examples were conceived during the artists' autumnal periods and, in these cases, represent something ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Michael Brecker: Pilgrimage

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Michael Brecker's tragic death in January 2007, at the age of fifty-seven, robbed the world of perhaps the most influential saxophonist to emerge since the equally untimely passing of John Coltrane. It's easy to forget that he was one of the pop/rock world's most called-upon studio players, recording on hundreds of albums with artists including James Taylor, Paul Simon and Eric Clapton. But it's his prodigious body of work in the jazz realm that will be his most enduring legacy.

It's easy to want Pilgrimage to be one of Brecker's best recordings out of a purely emotional response to his ...

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Michael Brecker: Celebration of a Healer

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Michael Brecker Memorial Town Hall, New York February 20, 2007

Town Hall was the scene for a spirited memorial service for Michael Brecker, universally acclaimed as one of the most influential jazz sax players since John Coltrane--and certainly among the most productive and ubiquitous: think of a name in innovative jazz or pop, and chances are Brecker's sax has been in the studio or on stage with them--from McCoy Tyner to Paul Simon, Herbie Hancock to Bruce Springsteen, from Elvin Jones to Joni Mitchell, Frank Sinatra to Steely Dan, from Joe Lovano to Donald Fagen, Dave ...



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