Michael Brecker: Pilgrimage

Album review
Michael Brecker: Pilgrimage

Michael Brecker


Label: Mobile Fidelity
Media: LP
Genre: Jazz

Because only a small fraction of contemporary jazz is released on vinyl, recently-recorded LPs should matter, and fortunately Mobile Fidelity has lent its talents to Michael Brecker’s Pilgrimage. Recorded months before Brecker succumbed to leukemia, the posthumous album intrigued listeners when it came out in 2007. In spite of his illness Brecker remained a vibrant and technically superb tenor saxophonist, and he avoided the string of heart-wrenching ballads one might expect from someone facing mortality. Instead Pilgrimage is characterized by understatement, lyricism, color—and friendship, as Brecker recorded in the company of old bandmates. As usual, guitarist Pat Metheny shines in a straight-ahead jazz context; pianists Brad Mehldau and Herbie Hancock take interesting detours during their solos, adding suspense to performances that, in a couple cases, start out sounding tame or predictable. Along with providing solid support, bassist John Patitucci and drummer Jack DeJohnette also have a knack for shaking things up. Highlights include the lyrical “Five Months to Midnight” and the haunting “When Can I Kiss You Again?” Sonics seem a bit bright, but not at the expense of the rhythm section, which has a natural, in-the-room sound. As Brecker fans know, Pilgrimage marks an impressive end to a remarkable career.

More Info

  • primary artist, Michael Brecker
  • LP

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