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CD Review: Brain Patneaude Quartet 

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Jazz critics tend to fetishize originality. I should know: I’m one who does, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. It’s not a bad way to be, up to a point. Yet sometimes we card-carrying members of the hip-oisie can forget that the average jazz listener cares less about innovation and more about music that’s creative within the idiom’s generally accepted parameters. That’s Brian Patneaude’s M-O. The Albany-based tenor saxophonist/composer’s music is largely a synthesis of left-leaning major-label jazz from the ’70s and ’80s. On this album, his quartet brings to mind the best work of Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, and others from the era. Pianist Dave Payette’s electric piano goes far toward evoking that vibe, as does the clean-toned guitar of George Muscatello. Drummer Danny Whelchel is quick and colorful; bassist Mike Delprete has a big, elastic sound and an inordinately lithe technique. The leader is a solid, inventive tenor saxophonist who pays much attention to subtleties of dynamics, tone, and phrasing. Neither he nor his band is concerned with breaking new ground. Rather, they seem intent on staking out their own little spot of soil in the jazz firmament. The resulting music is pleasant, well-crafted, and distinctive within circumscribed bounds—something even a crusty old jazz scribe like me has no trouble admiring.

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