All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

163

Jay Patten: Crystal Nights

Nicholas F. Mondello By

Sign in to view read count
There's an anecdote that surfaces every now and then about the legendary Buddy Rich. The ever hip and irascible drummer/bandleader was once asked, during a hospital stay, if he had any medical allergies. "Country music," he wisecracked. Well, Rich, ever the master showman, might reconsider upon hearing this most enjoyable, highly eclectic release from the incredibly talented, Heart of Country Music-based saxophonist/multi-instrumentalist Jay Patten.

With Crystal Nights (A reference to his longstanding friendship and professional association with country artist Crystal Gayle), Patten delivers a baker's dozen of selections that embrace and transcend pop, smooth jazz and country blues-tinged styles. All draw upon and validate Patten's robust résumé as a celebrated composer/lyricist, vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, musical director and producer. The eclectic mixture of originals, popular hits, smooth jazz sax and voice over a very soul-solid rhythm section makes for a satisfying gumbo of musical grooves.

Patten's fine saxophone playing reeks of old-time Memphis soul throughout, but especially on the title track and "Bussin' to Memphis." These and other cuts also distinguish Patten as a first-rate composer/lyricist, with seven originals and two co-authored tracks. His intriguing vocal approach—a high tenor—mimics his instrumental playing. It's a voice of honesty, sincerity ("Freedom Song" and the nostalgic "Finally") and experience ("I Don't Have the Heart to Say Goodbye"). His take on Jeff Steinberg's marvelously arranged "And Sinatra Sang Our Song" is, hands down, the performance highlight of the date.

Tipping his already rakishly-angled hat to his Nashville brethren, Patten covers Hank Williams ("I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry"), Elvis Presley ("Can't Help Falling in Love") instrumentally and Dean Martin ("Memories Are Made of This") with guest Gayle. A commercial consideration perhaps, but, done well.

"Talent" is a word with a fascinating, ancient etymology. Originally, it meant currency, and with Crystal Nights, Patten demonstrates that he has a king's riches to share and does so magnanimously—Buddy Rich's allergies notwithstanding.

Track Listing: Ready for the Time to Get Better; Bussin' to Memphis; I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry; Freedom Song; Finally; Crystal Nights; And Sinatra Sang Our Song; True & Tried; Little Friend; I Don't Have the Heart to Say Goodbye; Can't Help Falling in Love; One More Goodbye; Memories Are Made of This.

Personnel: Jay Patten: alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, woodsounds flute, mandolin, guitar, keyboards, vocals (4, 5, 7, 8, 13, 19); Catherine Marx: keyboards; Andy Reiss: guitar; Mike Loudermilk: guitar; John Kearns: steel guitar (5); Toni Sehulster: bass; Ric Lonow: drums; Christos: vocal (1); Crystal Gayle: vocal (13).

Title: Crystal Nights | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Flamingo

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Smart Grid CD/LP/Track Review
Smart Grid
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 16, 2018
Read Monochrome CD/LP/Track Review
Monochrome
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: July 16, 2018
Read Attitude Manouche CD/LP/Track Review
Attitude Manouche
by Chris Mosey
Published: July 16, 2018
Read Geometry of Caves CD/LP/Track Review
Geometry of Caves
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 16, 2018
Read This World of Dew CD/LP/Track Review
This World of Dew
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: July 16, 2018
Read Gegenschein CD/LP/Track Review
Gegenschein
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 15, 2018
Read "Mandala" CD/LP/Track Review Mandala
by Samuel Stroup
Published: December 20, 2017
Read "Synesthesia" CD/LP/Track Review Synesthesia
by Chris Mosey
Published: October 29, 2017
Read "Months, Weeks and Days" CD/LP/Track Review Months, Weeks and Days
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 21, 2018
Read "A Pouting Grimace" CD/LP/Track Review A Pouting Grimace
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 15, 2017
Read "Sun Ra Plays Gershwin" CD/LP/Track Review Sun Ra Plays Gershwin
by Chris May
Published: March 12, 2018
Read "Lucille" CD/LP/Track Review Lucille
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 8, 2017