For those of us who know and love the music of Michael Brecker, his passing a year ago was a tough blow at a time when we have lost so many greats, Max Roach, Don Alias, James Brown, etc...

Although it's not a new CD, MB's last recording "Pilgramage" was recorded while Michael was very weak and ill, but has as much, if not more energy and passion than any recording he ever participated in making. He passed shortly after finishing the project.

The recording, features MB on tenor, Herbie Hancock on Piano, Pat Metheny on guitar, John Patitucci on bass and Jack DeJohnette on drums. A dream lineup of jazz icons and leaders in their own right. The group is cohesive and tight on every cut. My personal favorite tune is "Tumbleweed" which showcases ALL of the musicians, in my opinion, and was a statement by Michael that I'm here, I'm strong and the music still lives inside of me. We are truly blessed that he left us with this masterpiece. Ironically, and I believe purposefully that the final cut on Michael's final recording is entitled "Pilgramage". I believe that Michael was taking all of the musical vibes and journeys that he had experienced in life, and put it all together as a living homage to the art of music. His "Pilgramage" was to find the perfect note, the perfect melody, the perfect song, and in this case, quite possibly the perfect album.

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Jaijai, what a wonderful mission you've undertaken to create such a place for artistic minds to meet and share their hearts. A place to renew faded determinations, and revive lessened momentums. A place to display our wares and reconfirm to one another that we actually are on the right track.

I commend you, Jaijai, for caring so much that you created this castle of the heart for all of us. I want to share my praise for all of the new friends as well as old friends that I've met and will meet here in our castle. Here we can garnish the where-with-all, the strength, the conviction, and the selflessness through our symbiosis, to share our gift to the world with an unbiased agenda.

My mentor, Daisaku Ikeda says of art: "A beautiful flower delights and refreshes the hearts of all people equally, no matter what soil it grows in. That is the power of beauty. The same is true of great art. It is this spirit that the German poet Heinrich Heine sang of when he wrote that once the peapod bursts open, the sugar peas inside are for everyone to enjoy."

Let's be audacious, my friends!

Buster Williams

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