John Patitucci: Celebrating Jazz Heroes

John Patitucci: Celebrating Jazz Heroes
By Published: | 23,553 views
As sayings go, "One man's trash is another man's treasure" is pretty straightforward, especially for those enamored with garage sales. For lovers of jazz music, it may hold a bit more significance, for it played a fateful role in the life of one of today's superlative artists in the genre.

John Patitucci is one of the finest bass players in jazz. A mainstay of the Wayne Shorter
Wayne Shorter
Wayne Shorter
b.1933
saxophone
quartet for years, he's also blessed the world of music by augmenting the art of folks like Chick Corea
Chick Corea
Chick Corea
b.1941
piano
, Jack DeJohnette
Jack DeJohnette
Jack DeJohnette
b.1942
drums
, B.B. King
B.B. King
B.B. King
b.1925
guitar, electric
, Herbie Hancock
Herbie Hancock
Herbie Hancock
b.1940
piano
, Michael Brecker
Michael Brecker
Michael Brecker
1949 - 2007
sax, tenor
, George Benson
George Benson
George Benson
b.1943
guitar
, Dizzy Gillespie
Dizzy Gillespie
Dizzy Gillespie
1917 - 1993
trumpet
, Natalie Cole, Queen Latifah, Sting, Carly Simon, Joshua Redman
Joshua Redman
Joshua Redman
b.1969
saxophone
, Freddie Hubbard
Freddie Hubbard
Freddie Hubbard
1938 - 2008
trumpet
, Tony Williams
Tony Williams
Tony Williams
1945 - 1997
drums
, Mulgrew Miller
Mulgrew Miller
Mulgrew Miller
1955 - 2013
piano
, and many more.

But in the 1960s, young John and his brother—both into music—were investigating sounds of the day: Motown, Eric Clapton with Cream, Jimi Hendrix
Jimi Hendrix
Jimi Hendrix
1942 - 1970
guitar, electric
, The Beatles
The Beatles
The Beatles

band/orchestra
,The Rolling Stones
Rolling Stones
Rolling Stones

band/orchestra
and other outfits from the famed British Invasion. Hey—it could have gone another way. Some things are inevitable, like Patitucci's immense talent. Who knows? But at times in history, seemingly minor things have resulted in twists of fate that have had major ramifications. Ask Mrs. O'Leary about her cow.

Whatever one's faith is in such, the road for the young Patitucci brothers was altered one day: "What happened one day was that my grandfather, he was fixing roads in Manhattan for a while with crews, with a jackhammer and all that," recalls the convivial and warm-hearted bassist. "Somebody comes out of their place in New York and they put boxes in the street that they wanted to get rid of. It was a box if records. My grandfather said, 'Wow. Can I take these? I have grandsons that are into music.' So he brought them back. It had all this jazz music in them: Art Blakey
Art Blakey
Art Blakey
1919 - 1990
drums
, Oscar Peterson
Oscar Peterson
Oscar Peterson
1925 - 2007
piano
, Wes Montgomery
Wes Montgomery
Wes Montgomery
1925 - 1968
guitar
, Ray Charles
Ray Charles
Ray Charles
1930 - 2004
piano
' Genius + Soul = Jazz (Impulse!/ABC-Paramount, 1961), which had Roy Haynes on it. All these people. The first Thad Jones
Thad Jones
Thad Jones
1923 - 1986
trumpet
/Mel Lewis
Mel Lewis
Mel Lewis
1929 - 1990
drums
Big Band recording called Solid State (Solid State, 1966).

"They were new and different. I think the Wes Montgomery album helped us come in because it was guitar, and we had been listening to all this music that featured guitar. And here's Wes playing blues and jazz—bebop oriented stuff on the guitar, but with such an amazing rhythmic feeling that he really grabbed us... But the Art Blakey
Art Blakey
Art Blakey
1919 - 1990
drums
record called Mosaic (Blue Note, 1961) was in there. That killed me. It freaked me out. I couldn't understand it, but I loved it. That had Wayne Shorter on it, Freddie Hubbard, Cedar Walton
Cedar Walton
Cedar Walton
1934 - 2013
piano
. Incredible record. And obviously Genius + Soul = Jazz—that killed me. That was so soulful. 'I'm Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town'—classic Ray Charles
Ray Charles
Ray Charles
1930 - 2004
piano
stuff."

It was his first exposure, and headed him down a path of investigating improvisational music. While he studied classical music in college, he grew to the point where he was doing jazz gigs on the side. He eventually left school and went on the road. The road has led him to today, where he stands as one the examples of excellence both in and out of jazz. The multi-dimensional Patitucci also writes classical music and dabbles in ethnic music.

The latest addition to his enviable resume is a new, adventurous and enticing recording Remembrance (Concord) with Joe Lovano
Joe Lovano
Joe Lovano
b.1952
saxophone
on sax and Brian Blade
Brian Blade
Brian Blade
b.1970
drums
on drums, each also masters of their respective instruments. There's some assistance from his wife, Sachi Patitucci, on cello and Rogerio Boccato on percussion. It's an outstanding documentation of dialogue among inspired musicians, on songs written by Patitucci in celebration of some of his musical heroes—among them, Sonny Rollins
Sonny Rollins
Sonny Rollins
b.1930
saxophone
, Thelonious Monk
Thelonious Monk
Thelonious Monk
1917 - 1982
piano
, John Coltrane
John Coltrane
John Coltrane
1926 - 1967
saxophone
and Alice Coltrane
Alice Coltrane
Alice Coltrane
1937 - 2007
piano
Coltrane, Joe Henderson
Joe Henderson
Joe Henderson
1937 - 2001
sax, tenor
, Freddie Hubbard and Michael Brecker.

That's in the wake of a fine Jack DeJohnette trio recording which he was a part of, Music We Are (Golden Beams, 2009) which includes Danilo Perez.

The seed for Remembrance was laid down years ago. Patitucci was developing his Communion (Concord, 2001) album that included Lovano, Blade and pianist Brad Mehldau
Brad Mehldau
Brad Mehldau
b.1970
piano
. The group went to rehearse at Lovano's home, but the pianist couldn't make it. The three carried on without him. The bassist recounts, "Joe has a really nice place upstate, and we had this nice room with a high ceiling and started playing together. The sound of it, the space of it, the whole feeling of it, and the connection that we had right away was just amazing. We felt it. We all looked at each other, like: 'Wow! We need to do something like this some time.'" Patitucci would bring it up periodically to the others when their paths crossed in ensuing years, and it finally came to pass.

comments powered by Disqus
Sponsor: Summit Records | BUY NOW

Enter it twice.
To the weekly jazz events calendar

Enter the numbers in the graphic
Enter the code in this picture

Log in

One moment, you will be redirected shortly.

or search site with Google