Pilgrimage (Michael Brecker album)

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Studio album by Michael Brecker
Released May 22, 2007
Recorded Right Track Recording, New York City, August 2006
Genre Jazz
Length 77:46
Label Heads Up
Producer Michael Brecker, Gil Goldstein, Steve Rodby, Pat Metheny
Michael Brecker chronology
Wide Angles
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[1]

Pilgrimage is the final studio album, released in 2007, by the American jazz saxophonist Michael Brecker. In 2005, Brecker was diagnosed with myelogenous leukemia, and at the time of the recording he was already gravely ill. He recorded Pilgrimage bearing in mind that it would most likely be his last album; he died in January 2007. The album's personnel consists of Brecker, John Patitucci, Jack DeJohnette, Pat Metheny, Herbie Hancock, and Brad Mehldau.


Despite his losing battle with leukemia, Brecker fully commands each track on the album. His sound is rich, powerful, and strong, and his tone and vigor do not suggest any illness or affliction. The other musicians on the album all were aware of Brecker's condition, and used that knowledge to encourage him and make the album a success. Herbie Hancock said of Brecker:

"Michael now has reached a new level as a composer and musician. Despite his disease, or actually because of it, he managed to climb higher mountains and to walk ahead. The best way to take a poison is to change it into a medicine. At the moment, Michael experiences something very destructive and changes it into something extremely constructive."


Brecker's compositions on the album are some of his most complex and thoroughly composed music.[citation needed] His positive attitude toward his disease seems to rub off in the music, especially "Tumbleweed" and "The Mean Time", as they are full of high energy and intense interaction among the personnel.[citation needed] The title of the ballad "When Can I Kiss You Again?" is allegedly a quote from Brecker's son, who asked him that question while Brecker was in critical care and isolation after his stem cell transplant.[citation needed] The album won Brecker two posthumous Grammy awards for Best Jazz Instrumental Solo (for his solo on "Anagram") and Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group.[2]

Track listing[edit]

All music composed by Michael Brecker.

No. Title Length
1. "The Mean Time"   6:55
2. "Five Months from Midnight"   7:40
3. "Anagram"   10:09
4. "Tumbleweed"   9:36
5. "When Can I Kiss You Again?"   9:42
6. "Cardinal Rule"   7:31
7. "Half Moon Lane"   7:17
8. "Loose Threads"   8:34
9. "Pilgrimage"   10:02



2008 – 50th Annual GRAMMY Awards[2]

Title Category
"Anagram" Best Jazz Instrumental Solo
Pilgrimage Best Jazz Instrumental Album


  1. ^ Anderson, Rick (2011). "Pilgrimage – Michael Brecker | AllMusic". allmusic.com. Retrieved July 21, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "Past Winners Search". GRAMMY.com. Retrieved September 25, 2011.