The Abercrombie/Erskine/Mintzer/Patitucci Band: Live in New York City
Each member contributes two compositions. Whether it is the dark funk of Patitucci's 'Labor Day,' the 'I Got Rhythm' changes of Mintzer's 'Runferyerlife,' the plaintive swing of Abercrombie's 'Little Swing,' or the New Orleans second line funk of Erksine's 'Cats and Kittens,' the quartet demonstrates their musical breadth and why they are such in-demand players. Recorded at the end of a short five-day tour sponsored by D'Addario, they sound like they've been playing together for years. And, true enough, there is some shared history ' Erskine was a member of Abercrombie's trio for many years, and also played with Mintzer in Yellowjackets ' but it is a testament to the sheer musicianship of the players that they can come together and, with intuition at the forefront, create music that breathes, swings and is elevated beyond the written page by their ability to interact in a completely organic way.
The discussion segments will be of interest to players and non-musicians alike. Arguably the best segment is Peter Erskine's, where he demonstrates, in terms that anyone can hear, how a simple rhythm can be made to swing. By playing a fundamental 4/4 beat and explaining how he sings the rhythmic subdivisions to himself, he shows how a drummer can take a basic pattern and breathe life into it. In the space of four or five minutes he makes a profound statement on the essence of musicality that is enlightening in its simplicity and elegance.
The camerawork is outstanding, focusing on the individual players enough to satisfy those interested in seeing how they do what they do, while not neglecting to provide the feeling that this is, indeed, a band. The interplay between the players is clear, especially between Erskine and Patitucci. Live in New York City demonstrates that musicianship is about more than just chops. It is about, as Abercrombie says, being part of a group; it is about, as Patitucci says, more than just being proficient on your instrument; and it is, as Mintzer says, about being as diverse as possible, and keeping an open mind to broaden one's musical horizons.
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