Sunday, December 13, 2015

John Patitucci - 1988 "John Patitucci"

John Patitucci is the debut solo album of jazz bassist John Patitucci. The album charted #1 at the Billboard Top Jazz Albums 1987.

This early offshoot of the Chick Corea Elektric Band turned out to be one of 1988’s most pleasant surprises. Patches was still supposed to be cutting his teeth, not chewing through the jazz charts to number one. And while GRP was busy establishing itself as the jazz label of the new digital age, their acumen in letting John Patitucci run free so soon paid off. The bass guitar, historically, is not a rich avenue of musical exploration; low tones get lost and the tricks (funk slap, fuzz tone) are often dull double axels. The first John Patitucci disc is different by design, and you can thank the folks at Smith/Jackson for it. The Smith/Jackson 6-string featured on the front cover is played on all but a handful of tracks as a lead guitar. The fluid, sputtering, tripping, richly rendered sounds that emanate from this six-stringed appendage are a source of wonder throughout. Patitucci also plays an acoustic upright and literally “bows” to his current employer, Chick Corea, on “Zaragoza.” With Dave Weckl on drums, this is an Akoustic/Elektric session at its core half of the time. Double synthesizers (John Beasley, Dave Witham) give the music a modern edge not unlike the first Elektric album, though JP the Composer isn’t nearly as restless or chatty as Chick. The music is also very much in line with GRP’s brand at this point: smooth jazz with some edges, balladeering and barnstorming. Highlights include the opening “Growing,” “Baja Bajo” and a pair of tracks featuring Michael Brecker on tenor sax (“Peace & Quiet Time,” “Then & Now”). I wasn’t expecting a coming-out party this early, but Patches is clearly too large a talent to be contained. Based on this disc alone, his is a unique and interesting voice in the modern melodic/rhythmic fusion movement. 

Stepping out from the shadows of Chick Corea's Elektric and Akoustic bands, Patitucci made a pleasing solo debut here largely on the strength of his brilliant up-front soloing on electric and acoustic basses. Adept at the popular funk slapping manner on electric bass, darting fluidly and jaggedly up high on the Smith/Jackson five-string bass, Patitucci always executes with the moves and body English of a bass player even when his instrument is up in the guitar range. Patitucci's compositions are pretty good, too, thoughtful and not too reliant upon jazz-rock cliches. He gets a lot of expert help from a variety of hot sidemen, including the astonishing Chick himself (who also produced the package), Chick's drummer Dave Weckl, other drummers like Peter Erskine and Vinnie Colaiuta, and the heated tenor sax of Michael Brecker. Without a doubt, this first opus enhanced Patitucci's developing reputation at the time. 

Track listing

    All songs composed by John Patitucci unless otherwise noted.

01  "Growing" – 4:38
02  "Wind Sprint" – 6:10
03  "Searching, Finding" – 5:09
04  "Baja Bajo" (Chick Corea, John Patitucci) – 5:49
05  "Change of Season" – 3:57
06  "Our Family" – 3:05
07  "Peace and Quiet Time" – 5:02
08  "Crestline" – 5:17
09  "Zaragoza" (Chick Corea) – 4:00
10  "Then & Now" – 5:44
11  "Killeen" – 5:21
12  "The View" – 5:37


    John Patitucci – bass
    John Beasley – synthesizer
    Dave Whitham – synthesizer
    Chick Corea – piano
    Michael Brecker – saxophone
    Dave Weckl – drums
    Vinnie Colaiuta – drums
    Peter Erskine – drums