Michael “Patches” Stewart: Penetration

Michael “Patches” Stewart is a trumpeter who without a doubt loved Miles Davis’ late ’80s output. The dark textures, looping rhythms, and lurking harmonies all point in the direction of Miles’ Tutu and Amandla albums. Having for Miles’ associates bassist Marcus Miller, guitarist Hiram Bullock, altoist Kenny Garrett, tenor saxophonist Bill Evans, and keyboardist Jim Beard among others on board doesn’t help distract the comparisons.

A very poised trumpeter, indeed, who is comfortable with both the muted and opened bell, Stewart unfortunately relies so heavily on Miles’ stylings that this recording approaches bathos very quickly. Even the drum & bass treatment of “My Funny Valentine,” which also features vocalist Al Jarreau, has that “What would Miles have done with this rhythm track” tackiness. Penetration? I hardly felt a thing.