Since the passing of Jaco Pastorius, the chair of the electric bass messiah has been vacant, but John Patitucci, who came to international notice with Chick Corea’s Elektric Band, seems to be deputising until the real thing comes along.
Like a thousand other bassists of his generation, Patitucci has successfully absorbed the discoveries of Pastorius and Stanley Clarke, and his section work follows the industry standard. But it’s as a soloist that he promises special distinction. He has enormous technique, compelling melodic gifts and a unique sound. His guitaristic high register improvisations employ an unequivocally jazz-oriented vocabulary, and at times one is reminded of the inside/outside lines of acoustic guitarist Earl Klugh.
Bass playing is only one of Patitucci’s talents. His solos here are set among excellent arrangements of familiar material, all written by him. If synthesizers ever make the bass obsolete, his flair in this department guarantees him a living.
This is Patitucci’s second album as leader, and has a better focus than his eponymous debut, reviewed in December 1988. Time will tell whether he will reach the stature of his predecessors, but he’s rapidly moving up the queue.
On The Corner; Avenue ‘D’; Venetian Moonlight; A Better Mousetrap; Vaya Con Dios; Kingston Blues; Painting; Strength To The Weak; Flatbush Ave; The Storyteller; Bertha’s Bop (54.26)
Patitucci (b/elb); Judd Miller (EVI); John Beasley, David Witham, Chick Corea (kyb/p); Dave Weckl, Vinnie Colaiuta, Al Foster, Alex Acuna (d); Michael Brecker, Eric Marienthal, Kirk Whalum (s); Paul Jackson Jr (elg). Los Angeles, c.1989.