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
and other outfits from the famed British Invasion. Heyit 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
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 jazzbebop oriented stuff on the guitar, but with such an amazing rhythmic feeling that he really grabbed us... But the Art Blakey
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
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 heroesamong them, Sonny Rollins
. 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.