Jazzitalia - John Patitucci, Joe Lovano, Brian Blade Featured at Todd Barkan's Birthday Party at Dizzy's Club 'Coca-Cola'
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John Patitucci, Joe Lovano, Brian Blade Featured at Todd Barkan's Birthday Party at Dizzy's Club "Coca-Cola"
by Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
New York - August 13, 2009

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John Patitucci, Joe Lovano, Brian Blade
Celebrate Todd Barkan's Birthday

John Patitucci on Bass
Joe Lovano on Tenor Saxophone
Brian Blade on Drums

After Hours: Richard Goods' Nuclear Fusion

Frederick P. Rose Hall
Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola
Broadway at 60th Street
Todd Barkan, Programming Director
Scott Thompson, Press

Todd Barkan Greets the Crowd
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower

John Patitucci, Joe Lovano, and Brian Blade brought their bass, saxophone, and drums to Dizzy's tonight, for the annual Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola celebration of Programming Director, Todd Barkan's, birthday. Dizzy's was packed for this second set, and, once again, I was a guest at Ilene Glick's (Todd's wife) party table. The jovial guests were eager to extend to Todd their best wishes, and a large, colorful chocolate cake was wheeled in during a break, for a Happy Birthday rendition. This trio could not have been hotter, and they began this CD release event (for Patitucci's new recording, Remembrance) with "Blues for Freddie", a tribute to trumpeter, Freddie Hubbard. Patitucci showcased strong bass rhythms, resonant and bluesy. His swinging tempos with Lovano's tenor sax took the Club along on their roller coaster ride. Lovano twisted and fragmented the melody, while Patitucci enhanced the moment with long rich riffs. It was immediately clear that Patitucci threw all his energy into his performance, leaning his torso in; soon his jacket was off for the remainder of this high octane set.

"Sonny Side", a tribute to Sonny Rollins, was next, and Patitucci and Lovano took the theme in melodic conversation. Embedded into the music are bits of "Sunny Side of the Street", with the familiar refrains richly extended and embellished on Patitucci's bass strings. Blade added soft percussive elements. When Lovano returned, another duo ensued, with atonal brass and echoing bass tempos. The theme became moody and introspective, before repeating the ballad's refrain. "Messaien's Gumbo" fused New Orleans styled jazz with classical flourishes, and, at this point, Patitucci was on his red, electric bass, adding a bit of dance rhythm to the moment. Lovano grabbed a couple of these notes and created a new sax theme, before Blade was featured on his first percussive solo, one long rollicking riff. Patitucci strummed with frenzy, and the trio filled the Club with down home joy.

The title track of the new CD, which also features Lovano and Blade, "Remembrance", is dedicated to Michael Brecker. Lovano was showcased on solo tenor sax, with no accompaniment during a lengthy, breathy riff. His performance was poignant, reaching highs and lows with impassioned effort. An exotic chordal solo followed on Patitucci's red bass, and Blade's atmospheric percussion created a whispering accent. Blade's pulsating drum riff followed, bringing the roof down on this virtuosic celebration of "Remembrance". "Jesus on the Mainline", not on the recording, featured Patitucci's solo acoustic bass, infused with Gospel intonations. Excerpts from Patitucci's "Freedom Suite" followed, with Blade's rippling, repetitive percussion and Lovano's staccato-punctuated, tenor sax theme. In contrast to the fragmented theme, the rhythms remained seamless. There were key and tempo shifts in this excerpted composition that expanded the experience. The birthday party set ended with moxie.

For the "After Hours" set, Richard Goods' Nuclear Fusion continued to warm up the remaining guests. Richard Goods was on electric bass, with Helen Sung on keyboards, Mike Clark on drums, and Jeff Lockhart on guitar. The sound was jazz-rock, a dissonant, atonal sound that also revealed exotic undertones.

Joe Lovano, John Patitucci, Brian Blade
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower

Todd Barkan and Ilene Glick Barkan
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower

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