1997’s One More Angel was a stunning album in which Patitucci finally left behind the influences of his mentor Chick Corea and found a composing style all his own. A period of great upheaval and tragedy in Patitucci’s private life, outlined in detail in the CD’s liner notes, was transformed into some absolutely beautiful music.
Featuring Alan Pasqua on piano, Paul Motian on drums and Michael Brecker/Chris Potter/Steve Tavaglione on sax, Patitucci fashioned a kind of ‘chamber jazz’ sound on this album, possibly influenced by Keith Jarrett’s Belonging band, but with plenty of personality of its own.
Gone are the technical flights of fancy and outrageous displays of virtuosity which sometimes graced Patitucci’s music, replaced by a ‘less is more’ philosophy and compositions that stick in the mind.
Pasqua contributes some very ambitious solos that at times bring to mind Herbie Hancock’s use of space and challenging rhythmic patterns. Brecker’s solo on ‘Arrival’ is, for my money, a career best, with a delicious throaty tone and all his trademark ‘out’ licks and lyricism. And Paul Motian is a complete revelation, a totally cliché-free player whose shimmering ride cymbal is a big part of this album. Check out his gentle coaxing of Brecker throughout ‘Arrival’ – he never approaches a backbeat and never puts his hi-hat where you think he’s going to, but he always supplies a subtle kind of forward motion.
Whilst many of the tracks are ballads (apart from the rather crass opener ‘Quasimodo’ which belongs on a different album entirely), they each have a majestic, larger-than-life quality. Patitucci sticks exclusively to his acoustic bass except for one lyrical solo piccolo electric bass track. He doesn’t even play on arguably the best track of the album, the closing ‘Beloved’, a heartfelt duet between pianist John Beasley and Tavaglione.
Any fans of Michael Brecker, Keith Jarrett or Patitucci’s work with Wayne Shorter should check out this album. Or anyone who wants to hear genuinely profound and uplifting music.