John Patitucci

Communion

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John Patitucci's fourth Concord release is a sprawling, ambitious affair, employing 18 musicians over the course of ten tracks. Playing both upright and six-string electric basses, Patitucci continues to explore Afro-Cuban and Brazilian sounds -- to greatest effect on the vibrant "Choro Luoco," featuring the wordless vocals of Luciana Souza. Patitucci's compositions are brought to life by some of the best players around: pianists Brad Mehldau, Ed Simon, and Bruce Barth; saxophonists Joe Lovano, Tim Ries, and Chris Potter; drummers Brian Blade and Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez, and more. Some of the cuts are less than memorable ("Isabella," "Misterioso"), and the stronger ones succeed more in terms of orchestration than melody. Highlights include Tim Ries' overdubbed woodwind snippets on "Calabria" and Branford Marsalis' soprano sax feature on "Communion," framed by Mehldau and a string quartet.

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