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The Pat Petrillo Big Rhythm Band: The Power Station Sessions

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The Pat Petrillo Big Rhythm Band: The Power Station Sessions
To say that a record is all over the place is generally considered to be negative. However, that is not the case with this fun outing from drummer Pat Petrillo. His Big Rhythm Band pulsates through a wide variety of tunes. Not knowing what is coming next can come off as disjointed. But, again, not here. The surprising change of directions keeps it lively and entertaining. When it comes to Petrillo, entertaining is the right word to describe him and his artistry throughout his career. He has played and recorded in almost every genre imaginable. Among the constants that Petrillo brings is his energy, his always tight and groovin' pocket, and his extraordinary fills. A studio musician extraordinaire, Petrillo is well versed in making every note count.

The Big Rhythm Band includes keyboardist David Cook, bassist Scott Ambush, trumpeter Steve Jankowski (who also did wind arrangements), and Pinky Giglio on the Hammond B3. They were joined along the way by guest stars such as guitarists Oz Noy, Felicia Collins, and Nile Rodgers, Blues Traveler John Popper's smokin' harmonica, saxophonist Lenny Pickett, and others. Styx vocalist Glen Burtnik stepped into John Lennon mode on a lively take of The Beatles "It Won't Be Long." After playing a couple of churning upbeat big band numbers, this was a prime example of the "out of nowhere" song selection which brought a spice and keeping-you-on-your-toes element to the record. "It Won't Be Long" is an early Lennon and Paul McCartney composition, recorded well before The Beatles introduced orchestral backdrops. This arrangement cleverly added just a dab of orchestration towards the end of the tune, perhaps as a subliminal homage to The Beatles. Petrillo, of course, added more fun to the moment, adding in some Ringo Starr chops.

A mix of funk, rock, pop, and more was highlighted by Petrillo's many skills bouncing about his drum kit. He did one drum solo, a really fine one at that, but was much more about playing tightly in conjunction with his band. His connectivity with bassist Ambush is stellar and created a powerful platform for the band to swing from. Petrillo was masterful with his fills. Always a lot going on, yet never a hint of overplaying.

While The Beatles' tune had the only vocal on the otherwise instrumental record, Petrillo and company did reimagine "Black Cow." The Steely Dan song featured Noy playing the vocal on his Strat. He started with clear simplistic diction, then beautifully became more fluent with his vocabulary and articulation. Petrillo wisely did not alter the original horn arrangement much, so as to have an apples to apples comparison of guitar to vocal versions. Petrillo's guitar choices were widely variant, creating very different moods and sounds. Rodgers brought his unique style to the mostly big band funk "48th Street." Conversely, B. D. Lenz took his slide guitar for a spirited rock spin on "Hey Pocky Way."

A couple of other attention-getting tunes are "Runnin'" and "Asbury Daze." The former is a seven minute romp in which the big band weaves through a multitude of changes, stopping, starting, but mostly just getting after it .Petrillo in all his glory is here doing what he does best. This did feature the aforementioned drum solo. This was an energetic extension of the song as opposed to a drum solo that has its own zip code. It kept the momentum driving forward and led right back into the big band. "Asbury Daze" has a Bruce Springsteen feel going on. With Collin's melodic surf guitar riffs and Popper's jumping harmonica vibe in tow, the band takes a breezy stroll on the Jersey boardwalk.

The band also offers an inventive look at Billy Joel's "Big Man on Mulberry Street" and a soulful take on Stevie Wonder's "Knocks Me Off My Feet." As stated at the outset, a lot of fun and a lot of variety It is a feel good record for sure. A record that would seemingly be enjoyed by the masses, but at the same time, no doubt, a clinic for drummers.

Track Listing

48th Street; Big Man On Mulberry Street; Asbury Daze; Black Cow; It Won't Be Long; Runnin'; Global Warming; Knocks Me Off My Feet; Hey, Pocky Way.

Personnel

Pat Petrillo: drums; Oz Noy: guitar, electric; Nile Rodgers: guitar; John Popper: harmonica; Tommy Timko: woodwinds; B.D. Lenz: guitar; Felicia Collins: guitar; Glen Burtnik: voice / vocals; Lenny Pickett: saxophone, tenor; David Cook: organ, Hammond B3; Scott Ambush: bass; Steve Jankowski : trumpet; Plinky Giglio: keyboards.

Album information

Title: The Power Station Sessions | Year Released: 2022 | Record Label: Autumn Hill Records


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