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CD Review by Dylan Howe: John Patitucci Trio – Remembrance

It was such a pleasure to receive this contribution yesterday from drummer/ bandleader Dylan Howe . You’ll have read an awful lot of disengaged, uncommitted three and four star CD reviews. Well, this is isn’t one.

Howe hasn’t stepped onto that production line: he has been immersing himself properly , as a musician, in the pleasures of getting to know an album, and reaping the rewards. Thank you Dylan, welcome to LondonJazz. I hope you’ll be a regular visitor here, the floor is yours!

John Patitucci Trio – Remembrance (Concord)

Just the other day I bought the new John Patitucci Trio album. I can’t stop playing it.

This is unusual for me, because this is a new album, not something from around 1965 and on Blue Note, Impulse or Riverside. Nor does it have Elvin Jones or Roy Haynes on it. It’s not that I don’t like new jazz, but have found it hard to not be drawn back to the ’60’s after getting either a record with Ari Hoenig or Bill Stewart on it. I mean I love those guys (Bill especially), but the root for me is that era, but with this album Remembrance, I feel like I’m listening to the history of most of the jazz I like and feel in one sitting.

Trio is maybe the most exposed and special of any lineup and the sax/bass/drum option is one that can really let you hear who and what a musician really is. Maybe because you don’t have a chordal instrument there, it really opens up the landscape.

The recording has Patitucci with his righthand man Brian Blade, someone who is just at the peak of his powers right now – the incredible implied pulse and balletic shifts and touch for the drums, that makes you feel like you’ve finally found that hybrid of Tony Williams, Elvin Jones and Billy Higgins – with the same technique and choices as Bill Stewart and Ari Hoenig are making – cutting that diamond from the same big stone – that we’ve all been looking for.

Completing the trio is Joe Lovano, someone who I’ve really finally got on this record. He is playing so beautifully and for my money, it’s his finest recording. He did a really good trio with album with Dave Holland and Elvin Jones – Trio Fascination – in 1997, but this just might top that.

This album came out of a rehearsal where the piano player couldn’t make it, so they played trio for the first time. Remembering that day, they got together again a few years and came up with this gem.

Sonically, the album is perfect and it’s telling that JP thanks the sound engineers almost equally with the band on the liner notes…they totally nailed it too.

Almost all of the album could be grouped under the ‘stand out track’ description (really!), but at a push I would say; Joe Hen, Sonny Side and Scenes from an Opera (with brilliant, emotive strings added to the trio, to great effect).

I even got into the couple of slight genre shifting tracks (openish funk or latinish grooves with electric bass!) – normally I would be groaning at this point, but because of Blade and Patiticci’s refusal to comply to what you would expect in this mode, it works. Also Lovano does a wicked and knowing Wayne Shorter (circa Weather Report This Is This) on Mali.

The title track and closer on the album is a bass feature dedicated to Michael Brecker, it’s short (1.54) and really says more than many might on a whole album.

Patitucci’s playing (and compositions for that matter) is maybe now everything it was hinting at back in the early ’90’s. There can only be a few living bass players to stand shoulder to shoulder with him as Christian McBride and Larry Grenadier might testify.

But this record is not about one person at all, it’s about how the right three people can make such a joyful and intimate sound, making you want to listen again and again, just as I have.

To read more about Dylan Howe’s projects, follow this link.

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