Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Jazz Review

Patitucci Proves He's an Ace Bass Man

October 30, 1998|DON HECKMAN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

John Patitucci has been in the vanguard of the new generation of fleet-fingered jazz bassists since the mid-'80s. In a series of impressive recordings and live performances with Chick Corea's Elektric and Akoustic bands, he established a solid reputation for himself as an articulate, highly virtuosic player.

Tuesday night, in the opening set of a six-night run at the Jazz Bakery, Patitucci's playing suggested that, at 38, he has begun to find a maturity in his music that reaches beyond undeniably imposing mechanical skills. In solo after solo, never attempting to dominate the proceedings with speed alone, he played with a thoughtful attention to his musical lines. Carving out choruses that used technique at the service of his imagination, he made ample use of both sounds and silences, contrasting brief, lyrical passages of melody with sudden, bright dashes of multi-noted coloration.

He was less successful, however, with his compositions. Devoting most of the set to works from his new recording, "Now" (Concord), he never quite came up with written material that could match the high quality of his individual playing. The net result was that the performance tended to move quickly past the compositions and focus for the most part upon soloing by Patitucci and the other members of his quartet.

Fortunately, he was surrounded by first-rate musicians. And, although they never really came together as an ensemble, the stylistic differences that kept them apart made for fascinating listening on an individual basis.

Tenor saxophonist Steve Tavaglione, a kind of '90s maverick, pulled together disparate elements of bebop, John Coltrane and sheer avant-gardisms into solos that were musical adventures. Guitarist Jay Azzolina's long lines--with their sudden, unexpected twists and turns--mixed resonances of Bill Frisell with his own unique ideas. And drummer Terri Lyne Carrington did a superb job of energizing the music without overriding the sound in the Bakery's acoustics.

* The John Patitucci Quartet at the Jazz Bakery through Sunday. 3233 Helms Ave., Culver City. (310) 271-9039. $20 admission tonight and Saturday at 8:30 and 10 p.m.; Sunday at 7 and 9 p.m.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|