Bassist/composer/arranger John Patitucci's intensive sessionography is so vast and amplified by just a smattering of the names he has brought to his triple A+ game to Chick Corea, Wayne Shorter, Norah Jones, Monty Alexander, Warren Zevon, Lynne Arriale, Connie Hanit is rather easy to forget what a true monster he is on both electric and double bass when he spearheads out on his own. Live In Europe is a quick reminder.
Available on streaming platforms only (folks at Patitucci HQ might want to rethink that) Live In Europe jumps from the gate with a crackling energy that never lets up. Onstage alongside the deft impressionism of Chris Potter's sax and the ever reliable and remarkable Brian Blade on drums, "Echoes of Scarlatti: In Memory of Chick Corea" (based on a Scarlatti Sonata in D minor), celebrates not only the late keyboardist's love of the classical composer but also the joy both men shared improvising on the master in both Corea's Elektric and Akoustic Bands. Blade whispers in behind the bassist's lyrical meditation while Potter, sporting the exotic flair he plays with throughout this set, counterpoints and tandems. But this quiet, transcendent beginning steamrolls right into the high-octane funk of "Mali" (from Remembrance, Concord Jazz, 2009) and Live In Europe becomes something else all together. A rush of forward movement and thinking with each team member taking the helm to steer the piece through its many ecstatic convolutions. It is a first class jam beyond a shadow of a doubt.
One of the bassist's newer compositions, "Three Pieces of Glass" comes to life on the strength and Potter's long, emotive, piercing lines over a syncopated stop start rhythm pattern. Charlie Parker's jumping "Visa" jumps even higher here as the trio takes this personal perennial favorite to the bop bank and beyond with a whirlwind performance. Another burning, first class jam, Patitucci pops and marvels, Blade spontaneously combusts and you can almost feel Potter biting at the bit to get into the fray during their solos. Closing with a nod to Sonny Rollins, an animated Potter powers the trio's percolating take on the standard "Without A Song." A great listenening experience.
Echoes of Scarlatti: In Memory of Chick Corea; Mali; Out West; Three Pieces of Glass; Visa; Without a Song.
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