Abercrombie/Erskine/Mintzer/Patitucci: The Hudson Project
This quartet performed during a series of clinics sponsored by the D’Addario company, culminating in a show at New York’s Manhattan Center in late 1998. The group’s members — John Abercrombie, Peter Erskine, Bob Mintzer, and John Patitucci —need no introduction to contemporary jazz fans. Each brings a pair of interesting tunes to the table, but the result sounds less like a band than a superficial sampler.
Mintzer’s "Runferyerlife" kicks things off with some up-tempo rhythm changes, and "Modern Day Tuba" closes the set in spirited latin-funk style. Patitucci’s presence is particularly strong throughout: He plays a mean electric bass on "Labor Day" and two other cuts, and his upright feature "The Well" is outstanding. Erskine’s two compositions, "Cats + Kittens" and "Bass Desires," feature characteristically solid drum solos. Abercrombie contributes "Little Swing," an especially pretty melody, and "That’s For Sure," a country-ish cut on which Mintzer lays out. Throughout, the guitarist’s lyricism is undercut by the excessively high gain of his amplifier.
Despite some hot playing and a strong batch of tunes, the record seems thrown together — probably because it was thrown together. It’s a lot of fun to hear these guys go at it, all the same. But The Hudson Project probably won’t be considered a vital part of any of their individual discographies.
Tracks: 1. Runferyerlife 2. Labor Day 3. Little Swing 4. Cats + Kittens 5. The Well 6. Bass Desires 7. That’s For Sure 8. Modern Day Tuba.
John Abercrombie, guitar; Peter Erskine, drums; Bob Mintzer, saxophone; John Patitucci, bass.