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Take Five With Pat Pratico

Pasquale J Pratico By

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Meet Pasquale J Pratico:

I was born in Trenton in 1955 to an Italian-American family. My brothers and my younger sister were raised in a family restaurant business. I learned to cook and still cook most of the time with the help of my wife, Mary. My uncles Nate and Vince are professional musicians and they—along with the musicians my father hired to play in the restaurant— inspired me. I started in a wedding band with my older brother Mike and our two cousins. I played with them for years along with my uncle Nate's band, while freelancing. I became a teacher while I was in high school and taught at now-defunct music centers like Liberty Music Center, Lombardo's Music Center and Krechmer's Music Center.

Instrument(s):

Electric bass, guitar.

Teachers and/or influences?

Tony Taraschi, Lou Mercuri, and Al Maene. Guitarist who have influenced me are Joe Pass, Jim Hall, Pat Martino, Jim Hall, Wes Montgomery and Kenny Burrell. Amongst the many other musicians who have influenced me are Oscar Peterson, Charlie Parker, Dexter Gordon and Richie Cole.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when...

The first wedding I can remember attending was my Uncle Tony and Aunt Mary's wedding. They hired Uncle Nate's band to play. I conducted the band for most of the reception—I was seven years old—to the annoyance of my uncle. But live music is what did it for me. I knew I had to be a musician.

Your sound and approach to music:

Smooth and melodic; I enjoy playing in a pianistic style when playing solo guitar.

Your teaching approach:

I think students need to listen to a lot of music to find their niche. Only then can they decide in what direction they want to go, and find a teacher who will help them reach that goal.

Your dream band:

I would love to play with Diana Krall, because she uses the guitar prominently in her groups and I like her selection of music. Another dream band would be Wynton Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, Richie Cole, Steve Turre, Christian McBride, Monty Alexander, Tony Williams and myself. I would like to hear them play some charts that I've arranged.

Favorite venue:

Havana, in New Hope, Pa. They have kept the Midnight Sun Orchestra there for 12 or more years with me in it. They treat the musicians well.

Your favorite recording in your discography and why?

"My One and Only Love," which was a duet with a trombonist. I like it because I liked to accompany another soloist and play unaccompanied also.

The first Jazz album I bought was:

Bumpin' on Sunset, by Wes Montgomery.

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically?

Keeping the traditional sound of jazz guitar alive.

CDs you are listening to now:

Frank Sinatra, Reprise Years (Universal);

Art Tatum, Solo Piano (Pablo);

Count Basie, The Atomic Mr. Basie (Roulette);

Everything Jim Hall and Paul Desmond did.

How would you describe the state of jazz today?

It's not recognized enough by people as the treasure that it is.

What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing?

Keep playing it live and recording.

What is in the near future?

I'm working on playing with my octet featuring a vocalist. We are playing Sinatra favorites.

What's your greatest fear when you perform?

That I don't feel well because if I don't feel well then I don't do the music justice.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

"Kingdom Melody."

What is your favorite song to whistle or sing in the shower?

Whatever song I'm currently arranging.

By Day:

School bus driver.

If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a:

Chef.


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