Friday, September 04, 2009

John Patitucci - Remembrance (Concord, 2009)

John Patitucci has become the go-to bassist for many A-List jazz leaders like Chick Corea and Wayne Shorter while maintaining a career as a bandleader in his own right. On this album he leads a wide open trio session, doubling on acoustic and electric bass with Joe Lovano on saxophone and clarinet and Brian Blade on drums. Tribute albums are all the rage, but Patitucci takes this in an admirable direction by focusing on using original compositions as tributes, showing how the musicians he honors have influenced his playing and musical conception. "Monk/Trane" opens the album with a medium tempo trio improvisation making way for a nice acoustic bass solo. Lovano's following solo on tenor has some the angularity that John Coltrane showed in his collaborations with Thelonious Monk. "Messaien's Gumbo" honors the classical composer in an unusual way, with some funky sounding electric bass and drum interplay. "Sonny Side" is taken at a temperate mid-tempo, Lovano's probing saxophone simmering but never boiling over. "Meditations" is a somber ballad, with Lovano recalling middle period John Coltrane in his solo, the is reminiscent of Coltrane performances like "After the Rain" and "Alabama." "Mali" is one of the highlights of the album, opening with nimble electric bass and drums locked in. A punchy and bright saxophone solo and bouncing electric bass interlude make for a happy and fun sounding performance. "Scenes from an Opera" mellows things out with bowed bass and added cello, with sad sounding clarinet. "Blues For Freddie" has a boppish theme, with the trio tight and performing at the high level. "Joe Hen" is another highlight of the disc, Lovano really seems inspired by the thought of honoring another tenor saxophone great (Joe Henderson.) The music is deep and vibrant, and Lovano's solo is bright and striking. This was a good, solid mainstream jazz album. The music has a wide variety of tempos and feels to it and the musicians seem very comfortable with the material and each other. I think this is a good way to do a tribute album, by taking inspiration from past masters and making something new, the musicians have a lot of room to explore terrain both old and new.
Remembrance -

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