Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts grew up apart from his father, Pat. His dad was a saxophonist who devoted most of his adult life to the music and spacebound teachings of Sun Ra, the band leader who for many devotees of the avant garde epitomizes freedom and adventure in late 20th century jazz. Patrick’s wild baritone saxophone solos, often played far above the horn’s normal range, were for more than 30 years rousing components of Sun Ra’s concerts and recordings.
Governor Patrick has seldom spoken about his father, but nearly twenty years after his death, the governor and his family have donated Pat Patrick’s collection of scores, photographs and recordings to Berklee College of Music. In today’s Boston Globe, David Abel reports on the donation, the contrast between the free-spirited father and his studious son, and their spotty relationship. The online version of the story includes a video clip with the voices of father and son and samples of Pat Patrick’s playing with Sun Ra. To read it, go here.
This clip of the Sun Ra Arkestra in Berlin in 1986 will give you an idea of the difference between Pat Patrick’s working environment and that of his son in the statehouse. Patrick, Sr.’s baritone sets the riff :40 into the video. Don’t miss his duet with the trombonist beginning at 4:00. Take a deep breath and click on the Play symbol.
For quieter moment’s in Patrick’s career, you will find him in the reed section on Jimmy Heath’s Really Big CD, Blue Mitchell’s rare A Sure Thing and John Coltrane’s Africa Brass Sessions.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day.