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Michael Pedicin: Everything Starts Now

This is Philadelphia tenor saxophonist (and psychologist) Pedicin’s seventh album. The music, with his year-old quintet, is ensemble-oriented and contemporary. Pedicin’s big tone and muscular lines can evoke John Coltrane and Michael Brecker, but there are nuances-not too many, thankfully-that dip into the smooth jazz bag. Quintet guitarist Johnnie Valentino penned all the tunes except “One of Us,” by Eric Bazilian and originally sung by Joan Osborne. The melody statements mostly employ tenor, guitar and Mick Rossi’s piano in unison. Bassist Chris Colangelo and drummer Michael Sarin keep varied, loose, agreeable grooves Valentino’s tunes and arrangements leave one ambivalent, however.

The best are “Another Day,” a moody ballad fit for a movie score, and “L.A. to Philly,” a modal blues a la Trane, with bass and drums reminiscent of Jimmy Garrison and Elvin Jones. “After the Rainbow is Over,” a quasi-ballad, has an angular melody and dark chord changes, but the arrangement’s fade to a stately piano interlude seems unnecessary. As demonstrated by several other pieces, Valentino seems to prefer challenging melodies and odd chord changes. This is not a straight-ahead blowing session by a long shot, although more blowing and less arranging and sweetening would have been most welcome.

Originally Published