There is no way that Rifftides can keep up with the flood of new jazz albums put on the market by record companies and—in the new world of relatively low production costs—by dozens of independent musicians. The best that we can do is be alert for exceptional releases and bring them to your attention. Sometimes that means brief notices about music of quality that deserves even greater attention. That is the case in today’s catch-up effort about the veteran bassist John Patitucci’s latest album. Born in Brooklyn and with extensive early experience in California, Patitucci has long been a major player of the acoustic and electric versions of the instrument. Celebrated in recent years for his work with Chick Corea, Wayne Shorter and Joshua Redman—to mention a few of his collaborators—Patitucci has become one of the most sought-after bassists alive.
His Soul Of The Bass (Three Faces Records) puts him in a variety of uncrowded settings that demonstrate his flexibility in pieces that range from J.S. Bach’s “Allemande in D-Minor” to several of Patitucci’s own compositions. Among his pieces is the title tune, a riveting unaccompanied performance on acoustic bass. Elsewhere in the collection, Patitucci and drummer Nate Smith lock up in mutual improvisation. The bassist duets with his wife, the cellist Sachi Patitucci, whose arco playing has the presence and depth of a full string section. He also performs with his daughter, the singer Isabella Patitucci, in a vocalese display expanded and enhanced by multi-tracking and dominated by the pure, powerful tone and articulation of her father’s acoustic bass.
Coming soon: Further catching up.