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Reviewers: Don Mather, Tony Augarde, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby



Available via www.PatrickCornelius.com

Patrick CORNELIUS

Lucid Dream [60:06]

 

 

This Chair is Broken [6:33] *
Winds of Change [7:40]
Pretty Self-Explanatory [8:25] *
Billie’s Bounce [5:11]
Alone Now [6:36]
The Woods [6:27] *
Lucid Dream [7:23]
Don’t Give Up [7:09] *
April Rain [4:36] **
Patrick Cornelius (alto and soprano saxophones), Aaron Parks (piano, fender rhodes), Sean Conly (bass), Kendrick Scott (drums), Nick Vagenas (trombone)*, Gretchen Parlato (vocal) **

This is thoroughly enjoyable album of modern hard bop, featuring a number of the most successful young musicians on the New York jazz scene.

As is so often the case with young jazz musicians these days, Patrick Cornelius has a firm academic grounding. As a developing musician he won scholarships from Downbeat Magazine and The National Merit Corporation. He went on to study at Boston’s famous Berklee College of Music. Indeed he represented the College at important gigs both in America and Europe and was able to attend the elite Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, studying with Clark Terry and Jimmy Heath. He later undertook postgraduate studies at the Manhattan School of Music. His playing reflects many aspects of the modern jazz tradition. He has, of course, listened to Charlie Parker – as evidenced by this CD’s version of Billie’s Bounce. More directly his approach on tenor suggests that he has listened to Joe Henderson a good deal (and perhaps Harold Land?). His playing on his own ballad, ‘Alone Now’ is outstanding, intense and yet relaxed.

On this, his solo recording debut, he is supported by a rhythm section featuring the remarkable young pianist Aaron Parks. Another with a firm academic grounding, including the University of Washington and the Manhattan School of Music, Parks was only eighteen when he joined the Terence Blanchard quintet. He has a thorough grasp of the idioms of modern mainstream piano; at times he floats out beautifully melodic lines, at other times he plays percussive passages very much in the tradition of Monk. He is never less than interesting as a soloist and is an alertly responsive accompanist. His harmonic sense is subtle and he plays with a sophistication and certainty well beyond his years. Enjoyable as I found Cornelius’s playing, it has to be said that Parks comes close to ‘stealing’ his album from him. Sean Conley brings to his work on double bass a rhythmic suppleness and a harmonic awareness that complement (and stimulate) the front-line soloists, while Kendrick Scott, another student of Berklee, is a drummer who listens attentively and has an ear for exactly relevant detail.

On four tracks the basic quartet is joined by trombonist Nick Vagenas, whose inventive contributions (especially on ‘The Woods’) make one want to hear more of his work. He and Cornelius complement one another very well, notably on ‘Don’t Give Up’. Gretchen Parlato is a fine vocalist and is a shame that she is restricted to what is very much a supporting role on the one track on which she joins the band.

Enjoyable, clever music, which does interesting things with what it inherits from the jazz tradition, rather than being strikingly innovative. Well-schooled music, but music played with feeling, commitment and imagination.

Glyn Pursglove



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