Pilgrimage Heads Up/Telarc Music •••• SACD Mix •••½
The title "Five Months from Midnight" sums up this Pilgrimage. In August 2006, the tenor saxophonist recorded that track and the eight others here for his first all-original album. In January 2007, he died from leukemia. Amazingly, Brecker was both spry and commanding in his last sessions, where he was joined by Pat Metheny, Herbie Hancock, Brad Mehldau, John Patitucci, and Jack DeJohnette. They all sound vivid on this spacious SACD - especially DeJohnette and his oh-so-natural drums - but Joe Ferla's five-channel mix can be rather schizo. Track 1: Brecker holds court from the center. Track 2: He's prominent in every channel. Track 4: Now he's nearly gone from the center. As for the "missing" channel: Even though Patitucci plays acoustic bass, it could've used a little subwoofer oomph here and there.