Who said three’s the charm? There’s a lot to be said for those moments when the John Patitucci Trio isn’t acting alone on Remembrance, an intimate studio session that primarily finds the veteran bassist-composer-bandleader collaborating with reedman Joe Lovano and drummer Brian Blade.
Take “Scenes From an Opera,” for example. It’s a performance that wouldn’t be nearly as evocative or soulful without the inspired input of cellist Sachi Patitucci, the bassist’s wife. Or “Meditations,” one of four arrangements on Remembrance deftly accented by percussionist Rogerio Boccato. Then, too, there’s the album’s title track to consider, a solo homage to the late Michael Brecker that makes haunting use of Patitucci’s six-string electric bass and six-string electric piccolo bass.
Of course, that’s not to say that the teaming of Patitucci, Lovano and Blade doesn’t deliver on its promise. Remembrance may be dedicated to, as Patitucci puts it in his liner notes, “fellow musicians who have inspired us that have recently and not so recently departed this world,” but it’s scarcely a solemn affair. The trio performances capitalize on the ensemble’s great chemistry, each in a different light, starting with the rhythmically and harmonically skewed “Monk/Trane”; the insinuating stroll “Sonny Side,” a splendid showcase for Lovano’s robust and restless tenor; and “Blues for Freddie,” a jaunty postbop salute composed, like all the tunes here, by Patitucci. When it comes to regional flavoring, though, nothing proves tastier than the Boccato-augmented quartet performance of “Messaien’s Gumbo.”Originally Published