is a session of creative modern mainstream jazz from a quartet of John Patitucci – who employs the acoustic stand-up bass on seven of the ten tracks – guitarist John Scofield, tenor saxophonist Chris Potter, and drummer Bill Stewart. Michael Brecker substitutes on two tracks, while three numbers are performed without either saxophonist. Associations with both Chick Corea's Elektric and Akoustic Bands, eight recordings as leader, and "sideman" support with a cast that includes Lee Ritenour, Dave Grusin, Hubert Laws, Dave Weckl, Gary Burton, Tom Scott, and John Tesh, have given Patitucci an international following; nevertheless, the bassist's composing skills and lyrical style often seem overlooked. This session is made up mostly of John Patitucci's compositions, and he takes frequent stand-up bass solos.
The quartet's characteristic sound is that of an all-star unit that honors the leader's lyrical ideas when expressing them as a unit, and stretches out individually for periodic solo spots. Scofield offers creative and sometimes dramatic electric guitar pick work, Potter's loose approach and mature outlook provide a complementary voice, Patitucci's acoustic bass solos prove lyrical, and Stewart's drum set mechanics are anything but standard. Like the coffee maker, Bill Stewart starts off "Espresso" with an extended introduction that leads to an upbeat, dramatic, yet reliably comfortable piece. Patitucci's blazing fingers spell out a caffeine-induced string of ideas; he shares the solo spotlight with Potter and Scofield.
"Labor Day" doesn't refer to this month's U.S. holiday weekend, but rather to the day the young Patitucci couple's daughter arrived last year; it's a happy tune that celebrates the occasion. Patitucci's strutting bass line and Stewart's delicate locomotive ride cymbal provide the framework behind Michael Brecker's tenor dance and Scofield's wailing guitar. McCoy Tyner's ballad "Search for Peace" is performed by the trio of guitar, drums, and bassist Patitucci's six-string electric model, while John Coltrane's "Giant Steps" finds the electric bassist playing melody to Stewart's accompaniment. Some listeners prefer the acoustic bass while others prefer the electric model – Patitucci plays both well and in mighty fine company. Recommended.