Originally released in 1995 on the Postcards label, now owned by Arkadia Records, Dedications is pianist-composer Alan Pasqua's second release for the label which followed the critically acclaimed Milagro. On Dedications, Pasqua reaps the benefits of an all-star supporting cast which includes the mighty rhythm section of drummer Paul Motian and bassist Dave Holland. Pasqua, along with the talented horns of Randy Brecker, Michael Brecker and Gary Bartz, offers a generous mix whether performing in piano trio mode or utilizing the proficient skills of these top-flight soloists on selected tracks.
Pasqua demonstrates simply stated elegance behind the keys which is evident from the onset with the composition titled, "Homage." A mid-tempo swing featuring a lyrically charged alto sax solo by Gary Bartz along with Randy Brecker's clear toned, adept phrasing. Here and throughout, Pasqua also shines as a composer who possesses laudable melodic and harmonic tendencies within the framework of his enticing arrangements. It is also quite apparent that Pasqua felt comfortable working with Holland and Motian as he effortlessly comps with brief, often supple left-handed block chords. Pasqua's sublime, gorgeous phrasing glows on the somber ballad, "San Michele" as Michael Brecker's compassionate, dream-like soprano sax work provides warm overtones to this beautiful composition. On "Mr. Softee," Pasqua embarks on the piano trio course with a rhythm section that is fully cognizant of piano trio art, as their combined experience and resumes are well documented in these and other areas. "Ellingtonia" captures Duke's spirit as Randy Brecker utilizes some plunger action on his trumpet, which is certainly a throw back to the old big band era...Perhaps a lost art these days? Pasqua's lush voicings are prevalent on "Dedicated To You" as he once again engages the piano trio format. The closer, "Grace" is a lovely soul searching solo vehicle for Pasqua and is somewhat reminiscent of the Bill Evans school where every note speaks encyclopedic volumes.
A far cry from his days with the late Tony Williams and the fusion version of his now historic "Lifetime" band. Here, Alan Pasqua charms us with sincere, melodically memorable compositions, as the stellar ensemble work is just an added bonus. Dedications is artistically expressive and makes for an enticing listening experience.