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Brian Patneaude at the Massry Center for the Arts in Albany, NY

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Brian Patneaude
Massry Center for the Arts
Albany, NY
February 7, 2009


After a brief delay, Brian Patneaude and company took the stage at the Massry Center for the Arts to enthusiastic applause from the near-capacity crowd. Without a moment's hesitation, the group launched into the title track from Riverview, Patneaude's lastest album. Joining the saxophonist at the College of Saint Rose's newly constructed arts center were guitarist Mike Moreno, organist Jesse Chandler, and the Quartet's regular drummer, Danny Whelchel.


This evening's performance celebrated the release of the leader's new album, which departs from Patneaude's previous work by placing the saxophonist in an organ trio context. All of the tunes from tonight's show came from that album, which Patneaude dedicated to his mother and her recent recovery from breast cancer. Indeed, the title tune has a celebratory feel, a funky mid-tempo groove featuring a glittering solo from Moreno and a commanding, muscular solo from Patneaude.



Throughout the evening, Patneaude proved himself a democratic leader. The solo order rotated, preventing any one player from dominating the proceedings but affording each member of the quartet a spotlight moment. Towards the end of "By Reason of the Soil," the second number of the evening, Jesse Chandler—who played a Roland VK-7 clonewheel organ—embarked on what can only be described as an ecclesiastical/psychedelic solo, featuring spacey effects worthy of Rick Wakeman. The Houston-based Chandler is a soloist in the Larry Young/Sam Yahel mold; more cerebral than straight-out funky.



New York-based guitarist Mike Moreno was featured on a beautiful and moving rendition of Billy Strayhorn's "Chelsea Bridge." Drummer Danny Whelchel kicked off "Drop" with an extended drum solo that literally rocked the house.



Appropriately, however, the evening belonged to Patneaude. His solo on "By Reason of the Soil" began gently, gradually gaining in strength until the soloist was practically shouting from the rooftops. Other highlights included his solos on "Release" and a tune that has become a signature piece, "Jolo," with which he closed the show. Patneaude's approach to his horn most clearly demonstrates the influence of the late Michael Brecker, yet he has his own unique voice, which has only strengthened since his recording debut on 2003's Variations.



The poll-winning young saxophonist has become one of the most prominent jazz voices in New York's Capital Region. This performance gave proof, if proof were needed, that youthful, vibrant jazz still exists outside of New York City.

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