With Riverview, saxophonist Brian Patneaude continues to grow not only as a performer but also as an empathetic leader and composer. Like one of his influences, the esteemed Michael Brecker, Patneaude's voice is imbued with strength, melodicism and that certain New York state of mind.
A few changes in personnel and instrumentation from previous Patneaude releases enhance the saxophonist's simpatico writing style. Organist Jesse Chandler, who possesses an ethereal whispery timbre, plays more in the vein of Larry Young's sophistication than Jimmy Smith's greased B3 grooves. Drummer Danny Whelchel, who has been an integral part of the quartet since 2002, provides the rhythmic underpinning with enlivened traps, while the recognizable sound of Mike Moreno, one of today's top young guitarists, adds just the right chordal scenery.
The opening title track sets the vibe. Moreno's airy volume effects soar as Patneaude introduces the melody; the band digs deep into the pocket, before Whelchel solos hot over a funky vamp. A sense of storytelling is found in "By Reason Of The Soil," where lyricism and creative liberties (the playful guitar/organ call and answer, and Patneaude's soulful tenor statement), both have equal footing.
The band does justice to tunes by a couple of great pianists. The first is a tasty rendition of Don Grolnick's "The Cost of Living" with a slight Latin- colored flavor. The second is a splendid rendition of the Billy Strayhorn classic "Chelsea's Bridge." The original spirits of both are intact, with new layers of freshly coated ingenuity.
Surprisingly recorded in one night, the set sounds as if it took weeks to perfect, ending as strong as it began with "Life As We Know It," a tune that also appeared on his previous recording, As We Know It (WEPA Records, 2007), delivering a new take on a very good tune.
Music need not be overly cerebral, deep, or out there, to evoke meaningful contemplation. Sometimes a strong melody, solid musicianship, and intelligent composition are all that is needed, and Riverview proves that point.
Riverview; By Reason of the Soil; Jolo; The Cost of Living; Release;
Drop; Chelsea Bridge; Life As We Know It.
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