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This quartet performed during a series of clinics sponsored by the D’Addario company, culminating in a show at New York’s Manhattan Center in late 1998. The group’s members — John Abercrombie, Peter Erskine, Bob Mintzer, and John Patitucci —need no introduction to contemporary jazz fans. Each brings a pair of interesting tunes to the table, but the result sounds less like a band than a superficial sampler.
Mintzer’s "Runferyerlife" kicks things off with some up-tempo rhythm changes, and "Modern Day Tuba" closes the set in spirited latin-funk style. Patitucci’s presence is particularly strong throughout: He plays a mean electric bass on "Labor Day" and two other cuts, and his upright feature "The Well" is outstanding. Erskine’s two compositions, "Cats + Kittens" and "Bass Desires," feature characteristically solid drum solos. Abercrombie contributes "Little Swing," an especially pretty melody, and "That’s For Sure," a country-ish cut on which Mintzer lays out. Throughout, the guitarist’s lyricism is undercut by the excessively high gain of his amplifier.
Despite some hot playing and a strong batch of tunes, the record seems thrown together — probably because it was thrown together. It’s a lot of fun to hear these guys go at it, all the same. But The Hudson Project probably won’t be considered a vital part of any of their individual discographies.
Tracks: 1. Runferyerlife 2. Labor Day 3. Little Swing 4. Cats + Kittens 5. The Well 6. Bass Desires 7. That’s For Sure 8. Modern Day Tuba.
John Abercrombie, guitar; Peter Erskine, drums; Bob Mintzer, saxophone; John Patitucci, bass.
Jazz is a continuing revelation. The best show I ever attended was the
Roots Picnic at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia, or was it Robert
Glasper's Experiment at Lincoln Center, or was it Chick Corea with
Brian Blade at Oberlin College? Most of all I enjoy playing guitar and
composing beats with my Brooklyn-based group Space Captain.