Paul Serrato & Co.: Origami (2004)
I like the sense of purpose and accomplishment of this effort by pianist/composer Paul Serrato and his group on seven compositions, all original except for Miles Davis' "Solar." Serrato is a midwesterner transplanted to the New York music scene and has developed an effective sound in which the Latin percussion of Henry Morales on conga and quinto add to what he feels is a "gritty reflection of the urban landscape." The use of the percussionist reminds me of the work of someone like Ray Barretto in the late 1950s and early 60s when his appearance added some spice to several mainstream small combo recordings.
Serrato has titled this album after the Japanese art of paper folding in which the respective folds and creases eventually results in a single object. His analogy with these compositions is that although using components of world music, the end product is blues- and jazz-oriented. I'm not so sure that all of this rationalization is necessary. With the exception of the final track, "I'm Starting All Over Again," with a vocal from gospel singer L.D. Frazier, all of the tunes have the same feel to them, which is a bluesy, mid-tempo suite in which there is minimal disruption of mood and pacing. Perhaps this could be a problem for listeners expecting a variety of style/tempo. However, I rather enjoy the moodpiece aspect that results. Returning to the above comparison, the session reminds me of the Manteca date on Prestige with the Red Garland Trio featuring Ray Barretto in 1958, which largely featured funky blues performances from the group, in addition to the up-tempo title track.
With the exception of the closing track, which does nothing to add to the origami of the finished product, Origami provides a fifty minute excursion into the urban landscape that Serrato describes. Reggie Pittman provides some excellent trumpet and flugelhorn statements helping to maintain an after hours feel, and Serrato sings the lyrics to "Corona Carlos" in a hipster fashion.
Track Listing: Groove Move, Corona Carlos, Solar, Origami, Who Are You?, Open 24 Hours, I'm Starting All Over.
Personnel: Paul Serrato, piano, Yamaha P-80; Reggie Pittman, trumpet, flugelhorn; Bryce Sebastien, bass; Kevin Twigg, drums; Henry Morales, congas, quinto; L.D.Frazier,vocal(I'm Starting All Over Again).