Bassist John Patitucci, best-known for his 10 years with Chick Corea, employs both acoustic and electric for this merging of post-bop modern and Latin jazz. All 10 Patitucci originals relate to his belief that each life experience makes a significant impression on the mind and spirit.
The title track, which features Patitucci on both basses, deftly shifts in tempo and mood from exuberant to lyrical, fueled by percussionist Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez underscoring Danilo Perez's expressive keyboard work and Chris Potter's agile soprano sax. "Essay" inverts the usual instrumental solo order to effectively build tension: drummer Jack DeJohnette sets the pace, Patitucci takes over, then passes to pianist John Beasley before Mark Turner lays down a rich tenor segment. Also unusual are two duet performances, "Afro-Blue", a captivating bass-conga collaboration with Hernandez, and "Japanese Folk-Song," featuring the leader's bowed acoustic bass with Beasley.
The album opens with a churning "King Kong" that features Potter tearing it up on tenor, the bass lithe and expressive against pianist Perez and conguero Giovanni Hidalgo. Later, sharp contrast is delivered on "The Well," which is melodic, almost gospel-like in tone. "Postcard," an angular chart with a Latin groove, is dedicated to the soulful legacy of Eddie Harris. The leader's wife, Sachi, wrote and performed the brief "Maroon Bells" from her Japanese heritage, featuring overdubbed kalimba (thumb piano). The most lyrical offering is "Joan," a mournful yet beautiful melody dedicated to Patitucci's mother, who died last year.