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Connection lacking among Patitucci trio

The versatile bassist and his guitarist put technique before emotion at Catalina.

June 25, 2005|Don Heckman | Special to The Times

Things were chilly inside Catalina Bar & Grill Thursday night, despite the warm weather Los Angeles was experiencing. The atmosphere was generated not by meteorological conditions, but by the too-cool music of bassist John Patitucci's trio.

Highly praised for his work with the bands of Chick Corea and Wayne Shorter, Patitucci is an extraordinarily versatile player who's adept with electric and acoustic instruments. His sidemen were virtuosic guitarist Adam Rogers and drummer Nasheet Waits.

That's a collective that can be expected to produce first-rate results. And in a craftsmanlike sense, that's precisely what they did. In addition, the program had considerable potential: Jerome Kern's "Up With the Lark," Thelonious Monk's "Evidence," a medley combining a spiritual with Oscar Pettiford's "Bohemia After Dark," and original works by Patitucci and Rogers.

So what was the problem? The aforementioned chilliness -- the sense that this was music admirably performed and technically adroit but lacking any real sense of warmth or connectivity. Rogers' solos, even when he played acoustic guitar on his "Try September," consisted primarily of long streams of notes, running through scales and arpeggios, rarely pausing to breathe or to allow his line to open up emotionally.

Patitucci was similarly oriented toward technique first. The one exception, the Pettiford medley, featured him in a marvelous solo excursion that was the highlight of the evening. But Rogers and Patitucci would have benefited from following Waits' lead, which was a model of dynamic sounds and silences, tinged with the sort of emotional textures that were too often lacking in the playing of the full ensemble.


John Patitucci

Where: Catalina Bar & Grill, 6725 W. Sunset Blvd., Hollywood

When: 8:30 and 10:30 tonight, 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. Sunday

Price: $20 to $30, with two drink or dinner purchase minimum

Contact: (323) 466-2210

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