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Pat Mallinger Quartet With Bill Carrothers: Elevate

Dan McClenaghan By

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Chicago-based saxophonist Pat Mallinger's Home on Richmond (Self Produced, 2011), featuring pianist Bill Carrothers, introduced a superb teaming of talents. Mallinger could be tagged as a mainstreamer, but only in an elastic interpretation of the label, something like calling sax man Jackie McLean a straight ahead jazz guy. Maybe, but he, like Mallinger sure does test the edges of that tag. Carrothers is an original who rollicks in whatever direction his muse points out—Civil War tunes, twenties music, a tribute to bopper/trumpet great Clifford Brown.

The set of eleven Mallinger originals opens with "Copacetic." Mallinger blows tart alto sax notes with a Jackie McLean tang. Carrothers tumbles along the keyboard. Bassist Dennis Carroll and drummer George Fludas rollick and roll. It's a six minutes of walking-the-high-wire spontaneity. "Sunshine Rollins" is a gently-rolling ballad, and "Ho-Ho-Kus Blues" hits hard and heavy, like something drummer Art Blakey might have written. A brief intro leads into a Carrothers solo, ten fingers tumbling onto the keyboard. Mallinger is on tenor here, sounding laid back and soulful inside a wonderfully ramshackle band.

The set is one of those one-take, everybody-in-the-same-room affairs. Everybody sounds relaxed, insouciant. The pacing, switching from up-tempo intensity to plaintive, reflective balladry is nicely done. "Double Whammy" features Mallinger laying down a hot burn in front of Carrothers' dense, rolling storm cloud of a backdrop, before the pianist swings, Bemsha style in the beginning, into another rambling, cluster-of-notes, solo.

Elevate rises above the level of excellence of Mallinger's previous offering, Home on Richmond, with Bill Carrothers. It is a lively, top tier mainstream—but it's and on the edge mainstream—jazz outing. Mallinger and Carrothers are a classic teaming.

Track Listing: Copacetic; Sunshine Rollins; Ho-Ho-Kus blues; Singing Praises; No Rolling Rock; Prognosis; Double Whammy; 240 Edith Dr.; Oatmeal Song; Oakdale Avenue; Windtree.

Personnel: Pat Mallinger: alto and tenor saxophones, Chinese Xiao flute; bill Carrother: piano; Dennis Carroll: bass; George Fludas: drums.

Title: Elevate | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Self Produced


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