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Chris Pasin: Detour Ahead

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Contemporary jazz trumpeter Chris Pasin shows that once you are enamored of bop, you never let it go. After receiving a dual bachelors degree at the New England Conservatory of Music in classical and jazz trumpet performance followed by performing in bands fronted by such arch luminaries as Gunter Schuller, George Russell, Jaki Byard, and Buddy Rich to name a few, Pasin took a 16-year hiatus from playing jazz and devoted his time to his family and non-musical pursuits. Detour Ahead marks his debut release as a solo artist, and strangely the tracks sound like he never put his trumpet down for a single second. Produced by Pasin, Detour Ahead is a spectacular effort that fit’s the casino room culture and the entrepreneurial lifestyle. It is music that entices one to act on impulse.

The meandering swerves in Pasin’s trumpet thicken and ruffle up “Lost And Found” while fanned by the chime-like sprinkles of Benny Green’s piano keys and fluffed up in trimmings of sprightly twitters from Steve Slagle’s saxophone. The languid beats of drummer Daniel Richmond and bassist Rufus Reid in “It Doesn’t Matter Now” are garnished in syrupy piano slides and slow rising elevations in the horns. Pasin’s stint as a sideman in salsa and Brazilian bands comes through in the percussive burner “Jackhammer,” while the soft shimmering strips in the title track harvest a topiary filled with classic lines and elegantly strewn expansions.

Pasin’s studies in jazz improvisation with Jaki Byard can be the inspiration for the multi-sectional piece “The Light at The End of The Tunnel” with a tubing of exotically carved buds and conventional bop patterns. The serpentine sliver of the horns along “Enigma” are pierced by ad-hoc piano patterns and muted tones, contrasting the upbeat tempo of Pasin’s interpretation of Rodgers and Hart’s classic number “My Romance” with pulleys of lively saxophone squirts and graceful trumpet swags. The album draws to a close with the calypso confections that wheedle “Island” into a charming hip swaying rumba.

The dishes served up in Detour Ahead present a jazz gourmet for the bop connoisseur. Jazz music is so well rooted in Pasin that any length of time he spends away from performing it, has no effect on eroding or diminishing his talent. Apparently, Pasin’s days as a sideman may have been numbered, but his time as a solo artist has infinite possibilities.

Originally Published