Meet Reviewer Damian Erskine –
“Line By Line”
We’ve come to expect greatness from both the NYC jazz scene elite and John Patitucci. John’s lastest release, “Line By Line” has raised the bar on all fronts. The core trio consists of John, Brian Blade (drms) and Adam Rogers (gtr). This is a dream team of NY heavies if ever there was one! With additional guest artist, Chris Potter, and a string quartet (including John’s wife, Sachi, on cello).
John’s releases have consistently been among the best jazz releases at any given time (if you need evidence, look at his over 15 Grammy nominations!). However, almost in direct contrast to some of his earliest recordings, “Line By Line” is very much, a NY sounding trio album (John relocated back to NY in 1996 after having moved to LA in 1980). Having recently toured with Brian Blade in Wayne Shorter’s band, the trio makes use of space in a very exciting way.. as if the absence of sound were a fourth member of the group. There is so much interplay and musical intentionality here that one can’t help but to sit back, listen and let these masters do their thing. In addition, I must say that if you haven’t heard Adam Rogers before, this is a wonderful introduction to one of my personal favorites.
There are a few musical departures here, as well. While the first half of “Line By Line” is very much a top notch Jazz trio album, we are quickly brought down in intensity with some just astoundingly beautiful acoustic pieces and string arrangements.
“Theme and Variation for 6-string Bass and Strings” is a hauntingly beautiful acoustic piece conceived during his tenure with Chick Corea while “Evidence” is a downright gritty, almost Meters inspired groove with a very Wayne Krantz-esque chorus. Patitucci masterfully pieced this album together to calm us down just when it is needed and, alternately, gets our heads nodding again when we are in danger of being too soothed. John Patitucci has proven himself on past recordings to be a masterful bass player and musician. It hardly seems possible that he could continue to elevate his playing and writing so exponentially with each release. But he has.