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Michael Brecker: Pilgrimage

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Michael Brecker

Is it possible to disentangle the music on Michael Brecker’s final recording from the circumstances of its making? Probably not, but let’s try.

As anyone reading this magazine must know, Brecker announced in 2005 that he would stop performing in public because he was suffering from the bone-marrow disease myelodysplastic syndrome, which led to leukemia. In the summer of 2006, he enjoyed a spell of good health, guested with Herbie Hancock at the JVC Jazz Festival and organized an August recording session to document his final crop of compositions. Joining him in the studio were guitarist Pat Metheny and drummer Jack DeJohnette (who first played with Brecker on Metheny’s 1980 set, 80/81), Hancock (who split the piano duties with Brad Mehldau) and bassist John Patitucci.

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