Brian Patneaude: Riverview (2009)
Saxophonist Brian Patneaude, guitarist Mike Moreno, organist Jesse Chandler, and drummer Danny Whelchel are all relatively young, open-minded musicians. While having distinct approaches, they share a modern sense of rhythm and phrasing, often blurring barlines, playing motivically, and possessing the ability to follow their ideas where they seem to go naturally. There's a fluidity of execution which gives the illusion of ease that only the best improvisers can create. These loosely related approaches give Patneaude's fine and understated Riverview a feeling of oneness.
The opening track shows his hand right out of the gate. The vibe tends toward the pensive, dark, and subdued with a priority of mood and groove over harmonic gymnastics or chops flexing. Inspired improvising brightens the landscape adding new colors to the composed material and shaping a balance between potential and kinetic energies.
Riverview contains six Patneaude originals and two standards Billy Strayhorn's "Chelsea Bridge" and Don Grolnick's poignant "The Cost Of Living." Patneaude's writing is uncluttered: simple melodic gestures, pedal points, straightforward rhythms and forms, and open landscapes that give the soloist space and time. While Patneaude's writing is strong and these compositions would be welcome in most modern jazz group's repertoires, it's clearly a player's record.
Patneaude's As We Know It (WEPA Records, 2007), was dedicated to Michael Brecker, a big inspiration for him. Joshua Redman seems another influence in his phrasing and general openness. Patneaude's tone is smooth and even, and when he breaks into higher registers, real sweetness comes through. When he lets fly all of his internalized abilities during a solo, he does so with a restraint that comes with confidence and experience.
It takes a great player to fill Patneaude's longtime partner (guitarist) George Muscatello's shoes. Moreno is up for itand then some. He's a creative and supple soloist with a knack for making the occasional angular or rhythmically complex phrase go down easy on the ear. Moreno is a distinctive voice among modern guitarists and is progressing exponentially.
Moreno also played on Chandler's Somewhere:Between (Blue Moon, 2004). Chandler's organ sounds more like an electric piano in the beginning of "Riverview" and his soulful unaccompanied intro to "Release" sounds more like a cathedral pipe organ. He's a supportive and original alchemist coaxing the unexpected and beautiful out of his instrument.
Whelchel is another longtime partner of Patneaude's. He's on all of Patneaude's recordings and they've played a weekly gig at Justin's in Albany, NY for the last seven years. After hearing him stretch over the closing rhythmic vamp of "Riverview," the realization comes that the only thing missing on Riverview is more space for Whelchel's rhythmic extrapolations.
Track Listing: Riverview; By Reason Of The Soil; Jolo; The Cost Of Living; Release; Drop; Chelsea Bridge; Life As We Know It.
Personnel: Brian Patneaude: tenor saxophone; Mike Moreno: guitar; Jesse Chandler: organ; Danny Whelchel: drums.
Record Label: WEPA Records
Style: Modern Jazz