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John Patitucci’s Brooklyn Tale

The bass great celebrates the music of his New York City youth

John Patitucci at the Jazz Education Network Conference in January 2013
John Patitucci
John Patitucci, Brooklyn 2014

Not long before John Patitucci’s 13th birthday, his grandfather returned from work on a New York construction site with two discarded boxes of records. Ray Charles’ Genius + Soul = Jazz, the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis band’s debut on Solid State, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers’ Mosaic, Thelonious Monk’s Underground and Jimmy Smith’s Hoochie Coochie Man were some of the choice albums. It was Patitucci’s first exposure to jazz. Now 55, Patitucci still has the records, and over the past three decades he’s collaborated with many of the musicians he discovered in that thrown-away collection. On his 14th album as a leader, Brooklyn, his first self-released project and his first all-electric disc, with drummer Brian Blade and guitarists Steve Cardenas and Adam Rogers, the acclaimed bassist pays tribute to that formative moment and the borough that gave him his voice.

“So much inspiration came out of those boxes,” Patitucci says, seated in his “sanctuary,” a basement home studio in Hastings-on-Hudson, a commuter town about 18 miles north of Manhattan.

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