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Patrick Battstone: The Last Taxi, In Transit

Geannine Reid By

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Patrick Battstone is a pianist and collaborator. What is meant by collaborator? Good Question. Battstone is as equally skilled at writing, creating and playing as he is bringing together equally creative and likeminded collaborators into one project. Battstone's projects are a democracy of performances, where each player has a vital and role in the overall sound. His last six CDs have all proven to be adventurous alliances. Now with his seventh offering The Last Taxi, In Transit. Battstone has once again proven his creative and bold discography has nothing lacking in it highest form of avant-garde transformative powers.

This time around his collaborators consist of: Patrick Battstone, piano; Chris Rathbun, double bass; Richard Poole , drums, vibraphone; Ilona Kudina, flutes; Todd Brunel, clarinet; Gianna Montecalvo, vocals, spoken word; and Antonella Chionna, vocals, spoken word.

"As the City Awakens" starts the album with a beautifully building group improvisation that is a testament to the supremacy of spontaneous group interactions. One could not preconceive this, each moment captured in sound by seven musicians that have the discipline to listen and react with patience and respect to the music being created and their fellow musicians. The sonics of two female vocalists, flute and clarinet is an absorbing sound. Battstone is a master at following the melodic indications of the vocalist and woodwinds, providing harmony and direction that Rathbun follows and supports. Poole's contribution of both drums and vibraphone add even more color and mood.

"Creatures of the Night Forest" is an evocative foray into the soundscape of the ensemble. The interaction between Battstone, Montecalvo and Chionna is sublime. The three do a dance of colors and sounds that is impressive, yet cohesively focused. The group builds upon the opening and takes the theme and ideas through the gamut of musical possibilities with the ensemble. Eventually the vocalists, especially Chionna, take on a more percussive approach, as the woodwinds and Rathbun's bow take the lead. Montecalvo's range is impressive, her use of vocal range is remarkable.

For someone who only speaks English, "Immigrant Song" is a wonderful flow of spoken languages by Montecalvo and Chionna. Again, Battstone's keen ear keeps the music in perspective and is the glue binding the two vocalist and spoken word parts. This is very interesting to hear the different emotions. As Montecalvo and Chionna create themes, Battstone is right there to pick-up on them and start something the whole band can join in on to create expounding ideas that catapult the songs mystique. This track offers countless magical moments! Montecalvo even gets into a be-bop section that the ensemble plays with for a while. There are moments in this track that can bring a smile with the amount of creativity that is waiting around every corner.

Battstone creates and environment of leadership but with an openness of collaborative enlightenment. The group rises to his leadership by equally contributing to the overall success of each improvisational moment. Creating beauty, tension, release and pure engagement for the listener is what this taxi ride is all about.

Track Listing: As The City Awakens; View From My Balcony; Sur la Voie Rapide; Harbor Lights; And Then What; Creatures of the Night Forest; Immigrant Song; Lonely Avenue; Apocalisse Ora; Adieu Mes Amis; In Transit.

Personnel: Patrick Battstone: piano; Chris Rathbun: double bass; Richard Poole: drums, vibraphone; Ilona Kudina: flutes; Todd Brunel: clarinet; Gianna Montecalvo: vocals, spoken word; Antonella Chionna: vocals, spoken word.

Title: The Last Taxi, In Transit | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Leo Records

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