John Patitucci: Now
Bassist Patitucci's third release for Concord Jazz is essentially a quartet date with tenors Chris Potter (five tracks) and Michael Brecker (two) augmenting the rhythm section. The horns take a break on the last three tracks, McCoy Tyner's "Search for Peace" (a trio), Trane's "Giant Steps" (Patitucci, Stewart) and Patitucci alone on his own composition, "Miya." Patitucci, a proud parent, dedicated the album to his then two-month-old daughter, Sachi Grace, as several of the titles would indicate - "Grace," "Out of the Mouths of Babes," "Labor Day," for example. Patitucci is a fine player; I wish his talents as a composer were more congenial. Of the tunes on Now, all but "Peace" and "Giant Steps" are his, and none leaves much of an impression. And so it is up to the improvisers, chiefly Potter, Brecker and Scofield, to carry the day (with Patitucci contributing the occasional chorus as well, especially on the last three selections). Brecker meanders through the slow-paced "Hope" without much purpose, and fares only marginally better on the opaque "Labor Day." Potter also appears to be going through the motions; we've heard him play with far more passion and resolve on other occasions - although the music isn't exactly fashioned to let him roam free. Scofield is a taste we've yet to acquire, and sharp as Patitucci is, a bass solo is still a bass solo. The quartet tracks sound excessively busy, and it's actually a relief when Patitucci pares things down for the last three numbers, on which he plays a Yamaha 6-string electric bass, which doesn't sound too far removed from the guitar. That's a good thing, as Patitucci must delineate the melody on "Giant Steps" (a tune that fairly begs for a horn) and the classical-sounding "Miya" (where overdubbing turns him into a duo). Some may find this largely subdued and elliptical session a pure delight; others (such as we) shall place it gently on a shelf and leave it there.
Now; Grace; Out of the Mouths of Babes; Labor Day; Espresso; Forgotten But Not Gone; Search for Peace; Giant Steps; Miya (70:18).
John Patitucci, bass; Michael Brecker, Chris Potter, tenor saxophones; John Scofield, guitar; Bill Stewart, drums.