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John Patitucci Trio At The Jazz Forum


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Patitucci demonstrated why he’s a go-to performer, delivering a pristine acoustic tone and dexterous facility while walking and soloing. This distinctively put the bass on par with every instrument in contributing to a song’s motion.
John Patitucci Trio
The Jazz Forum
Tarrytown, NY
February 9, 2024

Elite bassist John Patitucci brought his trio to Tarrytown, NY, on Friday night. Known for his eclectic work over four plus decades with artists including Chick Corea, Wayne Shorter, and scores of others, Patitucci, pianist David Virelles and drummer Adam Cruz delivered a tight and uplifting set of originals plus a bebop standard.

The performance was held at the Jazz Forum, arguably the most prominent, dedicated jazz club in the northern New York City suburbs. All About Jazz named the venue one of the top 100 jazz clubs in the world in its reader poll. Jazz Forum seats 85 with clear lines of sight and sound, and a flavorful dinner menu. The Jazz Forum was sold out for each of four trio performances.

While Patitucci and Cruz have extensive experience playing together with pianist Danilo Pérez, the bassist noted that the trio relationship with Virelles is relatively new. Regardless, their individual musicality and technique gelled well together and gave the audience reasons to applaud often and loudly.

Patitucci demonstrated why he's a go-to performer, delivering a pristine acoustic tone and dexterous facility while walking and soloing. This distinctively put the bass on par with every instrument in contributing to a song's motion. Cruz's high-tuned snare and three cymbals used for ride color propelled the group forward. He is among jazz's finest for Latin time and drum solos. Virelles blended sustain-pedal swells with fresh chord extensions and fast bebop lines to tell stories through their material.

The set's highlights included several original works. "Joyful Reunion of the Brothers and Sisters" opened with something of a "Maiden Voyage"-plus-John Coltrane feel, then proceeded on its own harmonic journey a tempo, with Patitucci driving fast eighth-note triplets across the bass's range. "Way Up High" was dedicated to Wayne Shorter and acknowledged that saxophonist's classic 1960 waltz compositions. The Brazilian "Pedra Azul" proved just how locked-in these three musicians were at speed. Patitucci let loose a mesmerizing array of techniques in his solo, followed by a samba-driven, across-the-kit improv from Cruz that received the night's loudest applause. "Three Pieces of Glass" opened with a bowed bass improvisation. Virelles gamely re-interpreted the melody that was previously recorded by Patitucci and saxophonist Chris Potter. The George Shearing bebop standard "Conception" closed out the set. Virelles reminded the audience to recall the song's many covers, including those by Art Blakey, Bill Evans and Miles Davis. In the end, this night's Patitucci Trio put their own stamp on the piece, a shade faster and more punctuated than most other versions and left the audience appreciating "how it's done."

Despite being of jazz statesman stature in his own right, Patitucci put an unusual amount of heart into giving credit to those who had influenced him and motivated the compositions. He referred to Shorter as a "second father" and praised the Brazilian musicians who showed him the rhythmic and harmonic beauty of that jazz genre. As for Corea's influence, the bassist simply said "we could talk about that all night."

Note: The last time that All About Jazz interviewed Mark Morganelli, the Executive Director of Jazz Forum Arts, in 2018, the Jazz Forum location had only recently opened and the disruptions of the COVID pandemic were not yet on anyone's radar. Now, leading up to the Patitucci concert this week, Morganelli recounted the challenges they had faced at the time. The club halted its live audience concerts for fifteen months and pivoted to weekly live streams, and received financial support from generous government grants as well as a presenting donor and individual donors.

The role of Jazz Forum Arts (the club's parent organization) in the community since has grown, with Morganelli and team presenting 32 free concerts annually, many of which feature local community-based artists outdoors. They also have established an early childhood education program, and their latest educational program, the Jazz Forum Student Ensemble, has developed into two sections in just one year.

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