Brian Patneaude has been one of the foremost jazz saxophone players in the Capital Region for the past decade. His ability to take inspiration from his musical heroes and utilize this energy into a brand new sound is his biggest strength. This Saturday, February 7th at the Massry Center for the Arts, Brian will celebrate the release of Riverview, a new album that was recorded in one day (!) last fall.
In watching Brian’s career, the terms “consistent” and “hard-working” come to mind. Besides teaching saxophone to all ages and maintaining the local resource AlbanyJazz.com, he’s held down every Sunday night at Justin’s night club in Albany, NY for the past seven years with a similar group of musicians. The music on these evenings ranges from heavy re-arrangements of jazz standards to Brian’s own original material and much more. (Death Cab for Cutie covers? For real?) Special guests and featured artists come through on a regular basis; oftentimes including up-and-coming young jazz musicians from NYC.
One such guest, Mike Moreno, is a BUSY man; playing guitar on a ton of records including Q-Tip’s much lauded The Renaissance album from last year and plenty of his own releases, the most recent being released on the Criss Cross label. Another more frequent visitor is organist Jesse Chandler, who is currently living in Texas but at one point commuted up to Albany from Woodstock for the Sunday shows.
After releasing three excellent albums with the “usual” quartet which includes George Muscatello on guitar, Mike DelPrete on upright bass, and Danny Whelchel on drums, it seemed appropriate for Brian to shake up the mix a bit and bring in some of these folks he’d been sharing the stage with at Justin’s. Joining Brian and Danny on Riverview are none other than Mike Moreno and Jesse Chandler.
The album consists of eight songs; one “remake” from each of Brian’s albums, two covers and three new songs. From what I remember of talking to Brian at the time, the idea was kind of last minute and he had just about a week’s time to arrange all the material and ensure that everyone was going to make the session coming from different parts of the state. Apparently that night went well, since all the recordings here represent that tiny window of time.
What I’m hearing in these recordings is some true communication and interplay within the solo sections among all the players. There are moments of ecstatic energy and joy that balance with some gorgeous sadness and space. Patneaude shines throughout, Moreno is a constant new-idea soloist, pulling wild melodic ideas out of his hat, and Chandler wins “Best Split Brain” for holding down right-hand bass duties and space-y, unique comp chords with his left-hand. I’m not sure whether it is the brilliant engineering by Sten Isachsen at Bender Lane Studio or if Danny Whelchel just leaped up in skill and taste, but his cymbal work across the whole album is simply nasty-good!
Tickets for the Riverview CD release party on Saturday at the Massry Center in Albany, NY are available in advance from Brian’s website or at the door. The show will feature all four members on the album in a 90 minute-plus set of music.
( Trivia: I’ve known Brian for well over 10 years, and in fact, was one of the first drummers in his “BPQ” or, Brian Patneaude Quartet/Quintet 11 years ago. Way back then, we played an early version of “Jolo”, a song which appears in different forms on both Riverview and Variations. )
( Also: the graphic design and layout for this album were handled by my compatriot Phil Pascuzzo, who continues to impress me with each new work he churns out. The package is befitting of the project and the results are stunning. )