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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mario Pavone: Street Songs

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Listing an accordion in a jazz sextet's lineup evokes either thoughts of avant-garde leanings or maybe kitschy hipsterism. Not so for bassist Mario Pavone. Street Songs includes Adam Matlock's bellows-driven squeezebox, not as a gimcrack ornament, but a link to the immigrant working class neighborhood music of Pavone's post-WW II youth. The musician's history is significant because his bass has anchored modern music including bands by innovators such as Paul Bley, Bill Dixon, Thomas Chapin, Anthony Braxton, and Wadada Leo Smith. As a leader he has released two dozen sessions with his previous being Arc Trio (Playscape, 2013). ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mario Pavone Orange Double Tenor: Arc Suite t/pi t/po

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This release is something of a milestone for bassist and leader Mario Pavone. Now in his 70th year, he's also in his 45th year in music, which in a lot of cases would understandably mark a slowing down or restatement of established values. But Pavone is nothing if not forward-looking. So while looking back to the 1960s for inspiration for this music, he's succeeded in putting together a program alive with contemporary values.In order for this to happen, he's been judicious in his choice of sidemen. With the exception of trumpeter Dave Ballou this is the band that ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mario Pavone Double Tenor Quintet: Ancestors

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This is bassist Mario Pavone's second release of 2008 and it's every bit as strong as the earlier Trio Arc, also on Playscape. In marked contrast to the piano trio featured there, the quintet fronted by two tenor saxophones here is a more heated, volatile affair. The resulting contrast is as good an example as any of the amount of ground Pavone covers.

He's aided in that respect by having big ears. There are times here, as with the febrile animation of “Pachuca," where he's all over the music, as propulsive as any bassist worthy of the title should be, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mario Pavone Double Tenor Quintet: Ancestors

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Ancestors marks the debut of bassist Mario Pavone's Double Tenor Quintet. A tireless bandleader and endlessly resourceful composer, Pavone's nineteenth release as a leader is his tenth recording for guitarist Michael Musillami's Playscape label. Dedicated to iconic masters Andrew Hill and Dewey Redman, Pavone pays homage to their legacies with a robust, unflagging set rich in soulful intensity and harmonic complexity.

Longtime associate pianist Peter Madsen and veteran drummer Gerald Cleaver join Pavone as unassailable rhythm section partners, while the muscular front line tenors of Tony Malaby and Jimmy Greene offer a fascinating study in contrasts. A tight ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mario Pavone Double Tenor Quintet: Ancestors

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It might be cliche to say that the recording Ancestors by Mario Pavone's Double Tenor Quintet has caught lightning in a bottle, but this is indeed a potent feat of extraordinary music making. The bassist/leader became famous as the primary accompanist for the late saxophonist Thomas Chapin. In the ten years since Chapin's death in 1998, Pavone has distinguished himself with his own groups such as Trio Arc, with Paul Bley and Matt Wilson, his various quartets and quintets, plus his sideman sessions with guitarist Michael Musillami.

Pavone's Double Tenor Quintet assembles long-time collaborators into a new and ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mario Pavone: Trio Arc

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Bassist Mario Pavone's first recording was as a member of pianist Paul Bley's trio on the little-heard 1968 release Canada (Radio Canada International). This was when Bley's trio was at the peak of its acoustic glory, but Pavone's tenure was short-lived as Bley moved into an electronic phase shortly after. Pavone would go on after to release a number of fine recordings of his own forward-looking music as well collaborating with such players as Bill Dixon, Anthony Braxton and Thomas Chapin.

Trio Arc is the first meeting of the two in 35 years (Pavone briefly rejoined Bley's group ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mario Pavone: Trio Arc

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This is a meeting of minds. Bassist Mario Pavone first worked with pianist Paul Bley some forty years ago, but there's something about the music they produce in this trio setting with drummer Matt Wilson that renders the issue of time irrelevant. What makes it so is the underlying impression that this is music destined never to be resolved, as if the musicians making it are so clear in their innate understanding both of each other and their collective musical output that they could pick up the threads at any time and in any place.

This would account for the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mario Pavone: Trio Arc

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Trio Arc is bassist Mario Pavone's 18th recording as a leader, and the first to consist entirely of totally improvised music. Reuniting with his former mentor, legendary pianist Paul Bley, for the first time in 35 years, this freewheeling session recalls the halcyon days of the early Loft Era of the 1970s.

Pavone made his recording debut on Bley's Canada (Radio Canada, 1968) and continued to tour with the pianist in trio formation with drummers Barry Altschul and Laurence Cook through the early 1970s. Reminiscent of their seminal work, this spontaneous set finds the old acquaintances joined by another sympathetic ...

INTERVIEWS

An AAJ Interview with Mario Pavone

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“Creativity is more than just being different. Anybody can play weird--that's easy. What's hard is to be as simple as Bach. Making the simple complicated is commonplace--making the complicated simple, awesomely simple--that's creativity." --Charles Mingus

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." --Albert Einstein

This interview was first published in December 2002.

It is often overlooked that a significant amount of dedication, determination, and plain ol' hard work goes into making things seem simple. But it is a “simple" truth that we are surrounded by complex systems in our everyday ...

Mario Pavone

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Greetings, Wide Open Jazz and Beyond fans. It's that time of year again when musicians pray they've saved enough quarters in their piggy banks from the end of the year party gigs to get through the cold and often gigless winter months. I was fortunate this January to get a call from Mario Pavone, one of my favorite bass players on the New York scene, to play four nights down at the Knitting Factory with his sextet. The first night the sextet performed alone, the next two nights we added the incredible tenor saxophonist and teaching guru George Garzone and ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mario Pavone: Deez To Blues

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Throughout his forty-year career as a professional musician and on seventeen recordings under his leadership, bassist Mario Pavone has shown himself to be a musical maverick whose only concern is pushing himself and his contemporaries. On Deez To Blues, a sextet featuring acerbic trumpeter Steven Bernstein, violinist Charles Burnham and the consummate reed/tuba doubler Howard Johnson, showcases Pavone's quirky, angular pieces in all their idiosyncratic beauty.

The tunes run the gamut from improvisational foray to emotional ballad, and each musician contributes memorable solo statements. Burnham's pizzicato violin melds seamlessly with Pavone's resonant bass motifs on the superbly arranged “Dances 3/5, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mario Pavone Sextet: Deez to Blues

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If Mario Pavone were to be greeted with a fanfare of trumpets in celebration of the forty years he has been moulding music into inventive and challenging celebrations, he would probably look for bass and drums to ring the brass. Pavone is known to get the rhythm section out in front, and he continues to do so on Deez to Blues. That idea has more than its share of thrills, but his music continues to be the driving force. It is often exhilarating, but it also looks inward to pull a different emotional string. Driving it all the deeper on ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mario Pavone Sextet: Deez to Blues

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Bassist, composer and bandleader Mario Pavone leads a new all-star sextet on Deez to Blues, his seventeenth recording as a leader. Pavone's swinging, multi-layered compositions push the tradition forward while always looking back. Like his stylistic forefather, Charles Mingus, Pavone's notion of the jazz tradition is playful yet reverent. By placing the rhythm section at the fore while relegating the horns to support roles, Pavone's groups trigger structural innovation quite literally from the inside out.

The bassist's contrapuntal writing updates the jazz tradition in subtle, inventive ways, bending the rules, rather than breaking them. The core rhythm trio ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mario Pavone: Boom

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Bassist/composer Mario Pavone split his previous CD between trio and quintet groupings. On Boom he takes the mean, leading an adventurous quartet with longtime collaborator pianist Peter Madsen, omnipresent drummer Matt Wilson, and the industrious Tony Malaby, Pavone's most recent saxophone foil. The quartet deftly navigates Pavone's charts with tightly knit, rhythmically charged ensemble heads and spacious solo sections. Pavone also rearranges two compositions by the late saxophonist Thomas Chapin--Pavone's closest musical ally for nearly twenty years. They honor Chapin's legacy and fit comfortably alongside Pavone's originals, demonstrating how he continues to explore musical approaches they developed together, while maintaining ...



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