This is a well-designed, swinging session of straight-ahead jazz by six world-class musicians led by trombonist Ben Patterson, a member of the U.S. Air Force's renowned ensemble, the Airmen of Note, as are trumpeter Tim Leahey and guitarist Shawn Purcell. Drummer Steve Fidyk is the timekeeper for the U.S. Army Blues, while saxophonist Jeff Antoniuk leads the Unified Jazz Ensemble whose bassist, John Pineda, rounds out the sextet.
If The Prowl proves anything, it is that there is an abundance of musical talent lurking in towns and cities across this great land of ours, simply waiting for a chance to be heard and appreciated. While no one breaks any new ground, the group plays quite well as a unit, solos are sharp and earnest, and the rhythm section rests securely in the pocket. Patterson has impressive chops too, as he shows on the breakneck finale, a quartet arrangement of Ray Noble's daunting evergreen, "Cherokee.
Patterson composed six of the album's nine selections, and reveals sizable talent in that area too, especially on "Sunny Girl, written for his wife, Anne Marie, "Obsessive and "Operation Seventeen, the last a framework for Purcell's resonant guitar and Leahey's nimble trumpet. Patterson's playful sense of humor surfaces on the title of the opening number, "No, I Don't Fly Planes. It answers, he says, the question most often asked of him by a surprising number of people who attend concerts by the AON.
"I think there is some magic happening here, Patterson writes in the liner notes. While that is for the listener to decide, there is some high-level Jazz happening, as one would expect from musicians of this caliber. Even though the names may be unknown, the music speaks for itself.
No,I Don't Fly Planes, Mother's Day, Obsessive, The Prowl, Road Rage, If Ever I Would Leave You, Sunny Girl, Operation Seventeen, Cherokee
Ben Patterson, trombone; Tim Leahey, trumpet; Jeff Antoniuk, tenor and soprano sax; Shawn Purcell,guitar; John Pineda, bass; Steve Fidyk, drums.
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