With the next audiophile season at Newvelle Records already well into the works, it’s time to celebrate with John Patitucci’s (second Brasilian) record. If one can only muster a: “Oh happy day” it would somehow seem woefully insufficient. The label achieved near mythical status even before its lords and masters released copy one of record one. The whole business model was different, seemingly designed to cover the burgeoning cost of production through membership. And it worked; continues to work – so far – before, that is, new technology is refined to replace what is currently in use or before a way is found to recover the seemingly-forgotten magic of pure analogue, direct-to-disc delivery, which means that each record will be akin to a Picasso; just as the eye feasts so does the ear.
In the case of John Patitucci’s music, you journey to meet the music a lot less than half-way because as is said about God, “He takes the 99 steps, all you have to take the last one”, which (note to John and Sachi Patitucci, and family) I mean with no intent to utter a sacrilege. It’s just that Patitucci’s music – somewhere after Another World and his musical and extra-musical affairs of the heart triggered by the presence of Armand Sabal-Lecco, and Mistura Fina and the microscopic mixture (literally) a mystical angel dust of the Brasilian grinding together of ingredients made of African and Catholic-Christian spirituality, (finely) mixed into the trance-able rhythms of what became the first Brasilian extraction. This is no mumbo-jumbo, uttered by some novitiate in a Brasilian musical seminary in the heart of a favela, or in a site altogether more remote site guarded by the faithful with poison darts.
Rather, it was John Patitucci the bassist who seeming fell into a time warp and has existed there ever since inhabiting music that is old and new, lives in the instant of a moment as well as in the timelessness of forever. How else can one explain away the fact that Patitucci brings to each and every song from “Irmão de Fé” and (especially) “Pr’ um Samba” something that even those who conceived of and performed the originals have never been able to express? Or to sing of a greater love than even the great Chico Buarque was fired up to write and sing about in “Samba do Grande Amor”? There… Now, I’ve said what (presumably) everyone in the studio that day these and the other songs were recorded have always wanted to say but dared not mention the unmentionable. And truth be told, this music has been sprinkled with generous amounts of the mistura fina that was hidden from the original musical recipe.
Listening to the Patitucci’s music again – soon after Charlie Haden’s The Private Collection (Naim Audio, the first pressing engineered by John Christensen and mastered by Sir Julian Vereker) or shortly after Tyler Greenfield’s Sunday Bolero (on the pianists private Bim Bom Studios label and cut for vinyl by the legendary Bernie Grundman) – one is struck by the wraithlike nature of the sound – in the quintessential sense that the “wraith” in this context is all that is strangely fanciful and of beautifully unreal and fanciful worlds. What enables one to catch the spark and hold on to the hottest part of the musical blue flame is a combination of the impossibly beautiful sound of the playing of John Patitucci, together with that of Yotam Silberstein and Rogério Boccato AND the capturing of the sounds that were and weren’t in the air of the room where the notes of this music were born and died, which is of course, a wholly different story that begins and ends in another world with the ingenuity of one Marc Urselli.
Track list – Side A – 1: Irmão de Fé; 2: Catavento; 3: Pr’ um Samba; 4: Desvairada; 5: Olha Maria; Side B – 1: Samba do Grande Amor; 2: As vitrines; 3: Nilopolitano; 4: Sinhá
Musicians – John Patitucci: acoustic and electric bass; Yotam Silberstein: acoustic and electric guitar; Rogério Boccato: drum set and percussion; Marc Urselli: recording and mixing engineer; Alex DeTurk: mastering; Elan Mehler and Juan-Christophe Morisseau: producers
Released – February 2017
Label – Newvelle Records