John Patitucci: Line by Line (2006)
With guitarist Adam Rogers and drummer Brian Blade, John Patitucci explores jazz's modern mainstream on this program of original compositions that comes complemented by several timeless pieces from the larger pantheon. They're joined with saxophonist Chris Potter for a part of the program, while Patitucci works with a small string ensemble on two other selections. He performs both on his contemporary 6-string electric bass character and a traditional acoustic model. Each has its particular function.
Rogers and Potter lend a graceful hand that boosts the album's desirability considerably. Both weave rich melodic lines through the program that ignite emotional fires. Patitucci and Rogers interpret Manuel de Falla's "Nana as an acoustic duo, falling gently on sacred ground with bowed bass and a deliberate, stepwise classical guitar motion. The bassist later interprets "Jesus is on the Mainline with a blues-bound pizzicato bass that tells its story expressively. He closes the album with another solo feature on electric bass. "Tone Poem delivers a Spanish classical melody with somber reflections.
Thelonious Monk's "Evidence gets a contemporary facelift that rests upon Patitucci's driving electric bass parade, Rogers' searing guitar shout, and Blade's unique snare drum twists and turns. Theme and Variations for 6-String Bass and Strings opens with a cello soliloquy by Sachi Patitucci (John's wife). The string quintet follows up with a suite of impressions, while the leader's electric bass strolls casually through city streets that reflect upbeat promises.
Line by Line pairs the trio with tenor saxophone for a delicate rhythmic motion that swirls with eddies akin to human conversation as the four artists "speak to each other and work out in their upbeat jazz language. This piece is the album's high point, reflecting a sure-fire push toward the leading edge of creative music while holding jazz's tradition close to the heart.
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, Elizabeth Lim-Dutton: violin; Lawrence Dutton: viola; Sachi Patitucci: cello; Jeremy McCoy: double bass.