Perhaps because of his extensive association with iconic leaders like Chick Corea, Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock, John Patitucci was deservingly given carte blanche by Concord Records ten years ago. The versatile bassist remains a first-call player on both the acoustic and electric instruments, as well as a role model to many aspiring bassists (exemplified by his involvement in the jazz academe). Line By Line, Patitucci's sixth record for the expanding label (Concord has absorbed Telarc, Heads Up and Fantasy), explores many elements of his eclectic musical identity.
Thelonius Monk's "Evidence" will appeal to fans of the bassist's fusion-oriented/electric work. Adam Rogers' guitar playing on this track resembles John Scofield and Scott Henderson's jazzier soloing. His own "Dry September" is a daring composition with contrasting sections, non-functional harmony and meandering lines. It could almost be mistaken for a Ralph Towner/Gary Peacock collaboration. In fact, Rogers shares with Towner a penchant for classical guitar music and its modern dialectics.
Drummer Brian Blade's supple playing, although not featured on every selection, adds an understated complexity to this subdued session. His Shorter-tested polyrhythmic savoir faire, eloquently displayed on "Circular," should fascinate connoisseurs. Chris Potter joins the group on the etude-like "Agitato," the title track and "Folklore," a beautiful diatonic ditty. "Theme & Variations...," a Third-Stream-ish arrangement, tries the ear with its odd tonal shifts, abrupt modulations and long form.
Track Listing: The Root; Agitato; Circular; Folklore; Dry September; Nana; Theme and Variations for 6-String Bass and Strings; Line by Line; Evidence; Jesus is on the Mainline; Incarnation; Soaring; Tone Poem.
Personnel: John Patitucci: double bass, six-string electric bass; Adam Rogers: electric guitar, nylon-string guitar; Brian Blade: drums; Chris Potter: tenor saxophone; Richard Rood: violin; Elizabeth Lim-Dutton: violin; Lawrence Dutton: viola; Sachi Patitucci: cello; Jeremy McCoy: bass.