John Patitucci - Communion

Concord Records © 2001

Featuring: John Patitucci, bass; Branford Marsalis, soprano saxophone; Joe Lovano, tenor saxophone; Chris Potter, tenor and soprano saxophones; Tim Ries, clarinet, flute; Brad Mehldau, piano; Bruce Barth, piano; Edward Simon, piano; Brian Blade, drums; Horacio 'El Negro' Hernández, drums; Valtinho Anastacio, percussion; Duduka da Fonseca, percussion; Marc Quiñones, percussion, conga; Luciana Souza, vocals; Richard Rood and Elizabeth Lim-Dutton, violins; Lawrence Dutton, viola; Sachi Patitucci, cello;

John Patitucci is smart and broad-minded enough to understand that a bassist-led project doesn’t need to prove itself with excessive emphasis on the leader’s instrument. That’s especially true when the bassist is as creatively bold as Patitucci is, evidenced by his latest CD. Communion is a solid and ambitious package, well-stocked with good, interactive players, including saxophonists Chris Potter, Joe Lovano and Branford Marsalis, drummer Brian Blade and pianists Brad Mehldau and Ed Simon. Patitucci is going for variety of colors here, expanding his composer’s voice. On the balladic title track, he writes a supple arrangement for string quartet, and elsewhere leans toward Brazil (as on the engaging, rapid-fire “Choro Luoco,” dedicated to Hermeto Pascoal) and other Latin elements (i.e., the catchy, sambaesque “Bariloche”). Over the course of the album, Patitucci shows his commanding approach to both electric and acoustic bass, ending the album with two showcases: a duet version of Mal Waldron’s “Soul Eyes” for 6-string electric and Brad Mehldau and a nimble acoustic take on Oscar Pettiford’s “Bohemia After Dark” to close the album and bring it back to the realm of jazz-bass legacy.

Josef Woodard, Jazz Times

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