Brian Patneaude: All Around Us (2012)
As a saxophonist, Patneaude solos transparently and has a bright sound, set off by a hard-edged technical competence that will remind some of Michael Brecker, as on the complicated line of "Blucocele." On Bronisław Kaper's "Invitation," Patneaude is admirably unfazed by the celebrated 1958 John Coltrane reading of the tune on Standard Coltrane (Prestige, 1962). Patneaude the composer provides compelling settings for the quartet. His harmonic progressions suggest a moving forward, a seeking (not unlike some Coltrane compositions). He favors swirling bop-derived themes and a variety in time signatures, all of which keeps things interesting.
The pace on All Around Us largely varies between mid-tempo and just-this-side-of frenetic, a function of the slightly unsettled compositions and drummer Danny Whelchel's alert, ahead-of-the-beat style. The manic main theme of "Double Trio" is a well-executed example of the hard-driving aspect of the set, as are "Aimless Antithesis" and "Blucocele" whereas "Orb" marks the more contemplative end of the spectrum here.
Keyboardist David Caldwell-Mason merits most valuable player honors among the musicians assembled by Patneaude: he is a tireless font of ideas and creativity, thoughtful but not discursive in his solos (each of which is excellent) and ably supportive in the ensemble passages and underneath Patneaude's solos. He has a firm handle on both dimensions of the Herbie Hancock school of jazz piano: the blues heritage transmitted via Bud Powell and Hancock's sensitive impressionism.
On the two covers, Invitation" and Wayne Shorter's redoubtable "Juju," Caldwell-Mason switches to Fender Rhodes with marvelous effect. On "Juju" in particular, the electric keyboard lends to the proceedings a stylish sound reminiscent of Uri Caine's role in trumpeter Dave Douglas' ensembles. Bassist Mike DelPrete is versatile and steps forward for a good solo on "Too Vast For Malice." Drummer Whelchel, meanwhile, solos nicely (though perhaps a little too low in the mix) over the vamp in "Double Trio."
Track Listing: Lake Timeless; Too Vast for Malice; Orb; Double Trio; Juju; Aimless Antithesis; Invitation; Blucocele.
Personnel: Brian Patneaude: tenor saxophone; David Caldwell-Mason: piano, Fender Rhodes; Mike DelPrete: bass; Danny Whelchel: drums.
Record Label: WEPA Records