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Patrick Cornelius: Infinite Blue (2013)

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Patrick Cornelius: Infinite Blue How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Veteran New York saxophonist and composer Patrick Cornelius delivers his fourth album as leader with Infinite Blue, a gem of a recording that sparkles with an A-list of players interpreting eight new originals and one cover tune in one audacious session of music. Not really an unusual feat for this three-time winner of the ASCAP Young Composer Award (2005-2007), the music on this album features a variety of hard bop elements as well as intricate tender ballads providing a fair share of moments to experience often.

The saxophonist wastes no time in defining this album as primarily his through measured solo performances beginning on the opening "Regent Street" and guiding the music with the help of Chick Corea
Chick Corea
Chick Corea
b.1941
piano
/Brad Mehldau
Brad Mehldau
Brad Mehldau
b.1970
piano
drummer Jeff Ballard
Jeff Ballard
Jeff Ballard
b.1963
drums
whose pounding drums and crashing cymbal accents paint the music. Trumpeter Michael Rodriguez and renowned pianist Frank Kimbrough
Frank Kimbrough
Frank Kimbrough
b.1956
piano
, just two of New York's finest musicians performing in the Cornelius sextet, take pronounced roles on the title track marking this piece infinitely solid.

The reflective balladic "Waiting" is introduced by the only non-New York-based musician of the group, London-based bassist Michael Janisch
Michael Janisch
Michael Janisch
b.1979
bass
who turns it over to pianist Kimbrough whose light chords turns the number into a beautiful haunting piece of music. In stark contrast, "Puzzler" unleashes a hard up beat rhythm that brings an expanded horn section with both the leader and Rodriguez sharing the space with trombonist Nick Vayenas
Nick Vayenas
Nick Vayenas

trombone
for a quick rumble. One of the standout tunes on the recording, "Unfinished Business," has Vayenas playing middle to upper register trombone to Cornelius's crafty alto voice.

The Soft spot of the album goes to the gorgeous slow ballad "In The Quiet Moments," where the saxophonist performs a slow burn to Kimbrough's accompanying light keys and Ballard's warm brush stokes for a highlight of the album. Unlike many recordings, Cornelius caps this fantastic effort with the surging hard bop "My Green Tara" showcasing some of his best chops of the session and closes the recording with pianist John Chin
John Chin

piano
's "Projection" featuring Chin in his only appearance on a sweet melody that captures one last dynamic solo from the saxophonist and the very essence of Infinite Blue, an album that has all the elements of great music: elegant compositions, world-class players and a gifted point man leading the way.

Track Listing: Regent Street; Infinite Blue; Intro to Waiting; Waiting; Puzzler; Unfinished Business; In the Quiet Moments; My Green Tara; Projection.

Personnel: Patrick Cornelius: alto saxophone; Frank Kimbrough: piano; Michael Janisch: bass; Jeff Ballard: drums; Nick Vayenas: trombone (1, 4-6, 9);Michael Rodriguez: trumpet (2, 4, 5); John Chin: piano (9).

Record Label: Whirlwind Recordings Ltd


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