Jazz Great Brecker: A 'Pilgrimage' Before Dying

Herbie Hancock

Herbie Hancock added his piano talents to Pilgrimage. hide caption

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Michael Brecker's manager, Daryll Pitt

Darryl Pitt was Michael Brecker's longtime manager. hide caption

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Michael Brecker plays the saxophone i i

Michael Brecker plays in July 2000 at a concert in Nice, France. Vanina Lucchesi/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Vanina Lucchesi/AFP/Getty Images
Michael Brecker plays the saxophone

Michael Brecker plays in July 2000 at a concert in Nice, France.

Vanina Lucchesi/AFP/Getty Images

It's said that jazz musicians respond to two types of inspiration. The first is the muse within themselves — the one that gives birth to the musical ideas in their compositions, their solos and their musical identity. The second is the unspoken communication they share with the people with whom they make music.

Saxophonist Michael Brecker responded to both.

Brecker was a multiple Grammy winner who played in a variety of jazz settings and even crossed over to the world of pop music. He died in January at 57 from leukemia, the end result of a two-year struggle against myelodysplastic syndrome, a form of cancer that affects the bone marrow.

Shortly before he died, Brecker summoned the strength to record one more album with musicians who were long-time musical partners, as well as friends.

Discussing Brecker's legacy are two of those musicians — pianist Herbie Hancock and guitarist Pat Metheny — as well as Darryl Pitt, Brecker's long-time manager and the executive producer of Brecker's last record, Pilgrimage.

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