Michael Pedicin, Jr.

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Tenor saxophonist Michael Pedicin has produced more than his share of commercial and crossover jazz going back to the '70s. Here Pedicin pays tribute to fellow Philadelphian and good friend, the late Michael Brecker. His phrasings, sound, stance and compositional style echo Brecker, as do many post-John Coltrane saxophonists of the fusion-to-neo-bop persuasion. Not so much an update as a revitalization, Pedicin depends on Los Angeles based guitarist Johnnie Valentino to write the music, and it falls within the early Impulse recordings Brecker did with Pat Metheny. Drummer Michael Sarin, pianist Mick Rossi, and bassist Chris Colangelo fill their roles quite well, playing steadily without much fanfare or pyrotechnics. The breezy, Latin flavored "Pelican" and "This Way Out" typify Brecker's fleet vibrato and legato stance perfectly, while the hard charging "Later" is the hottest track, a hard charging modal number that signifies the New York City neo-bop the Brecker Brother promulgated in the '80s. The quirkiest cut, "Concatenation," (don't ask what it means) gives Rossi an opportunity to extrapolate harmonically à la Thelonious Monk. The loping "L.A. to Philly" mirrors Coltrane's "Equinox," and the march beat of "Contours" or "After the Rainbow Is Over," with Pedicin and Valentino playing together, contemporizes the Brecker-Metheny connection. Some languid ballad playing evokes the loss of Brecker on the title track and the waltz "One of Us," the only non-Valentino composition. Many like Bob Berg, Bob Malach, and to an extent Chris Potter or Donny McCaslin have followed Michael Brecker's saintly path. Pedicin is assuredly in that number.

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