Thursday, June 7, 2012

Peter Cornelius Maybe Steps Posi-Tone 2011

If you haven't heard of Patrick Cornelius before, it's not because he has been hiding out in the jazz witness protection program but he has been rather busy putting together one of the most impressive academic resumes you may run across. Cornelius earned himself a degree at the prestigious Berklee College of Music (otherwise known as Jazz U.) and then moved to the Big Apple enroll in the Master's degree program at The Manhattan School of Music.

While studying at The Manhattan School of Music, Cornelius played in an ensemble with Walter Smith III, trumpet phenom Ambrose Akinmusire, and future band-mate Gerald Clayton. Still not impressed? Cornelius then packed his bags for post graduate work at Julliard. Eventually Cornelius and Nextbop along with Posi-Tone Records were proud to release perhaps the most dynamic young players on the planet with  Cornelius' latest creation, Maybe Steps. A sleek yet warm and open sound highlights an effortless release with a nice combination of the old and new and the end results being a deeply introspective self examination of a searching artist. Reunited with former contemporaries Kendrick Scott and Gerald Clayton but has also leaning heavily on  new band members Peter Slavov on bass and Miles Okazaki on guitar. . --Maybe Steps is alto saxophonist Patrick Cornelius' third album, and his first for the premier L.A. based Posi-Tone Records.

Cornelius is joined by a formidable rhythm section of pianist Gerald Clayton, bassist Peter Slavov and drummer Kendrick Scott in a graceful and melodically strong performance, mostly of his original tunes. Cornelius' compositions swing gracefully, with seemingly effortless ease on the part of all of the musicians. "Maybe Steps" typifies this relaxed groove. On "Echoes of Summer," Cornelius is joined by guitarist Miles Okazaki, the two instruments complementing each other sonically and giving added depth and an all most layered texture to its melody. "Bella's Dreaming" is a lovely ballad that displays the saxophonist's masterful control of his instrument. An effortless flow with no self indulgent soaring lines that lead to the overly pretentious road to no where. "Le Rendez-vous Final" swings with an air of organic tenderness, raw emotion with an all most ECM inspired ebb and flow. "My Ship" is a slow, measured and driven with a wistful lyrical sense of purpose and perhaps is the highlight of the overall emotive feel of this impeccable release.  Cornelius' musical stock continues to soar. Maybe Steps is arguably his finest outing to date, demonstrating his unique and prodigious output of compositional excellence without bordering on the self indulgent pitfalls lesser artists find all too easily. Patrick Cornelius and Maybe Steps is a release you will remember long after the final notes.

A virtually flawless and masterfully entertaining release that leaves one longing for more

5 Stars!

Tracks: Christmas Gift; Maybe Steps; Bella's Dreaming; Brother Gabriel; Shiver Song; Into The Stars; A Day Like Any Other; Echoes Of Summer; My Ship; Conception; Le Rendez-Vous Final.

Personnel: Patrick Cornelius: alto saxophone; Gerald Clayton: piano; Peter Slavov: bass; Kendrick Scott: drums; Miles Okazaki: guitar; Assen Doykin: piano ( My Ship).