An effervescent old school swing with a blues infused soul makes Ben Paterson a name to remember!
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
Piano trios are a tightly grouped pack of virtuoso talent where it is indeed feast or famine. While the pianist walks the harmonic tightrope of lyrical invention the often predictable release can lead to the all too common implosion of self absorbed pretentious ego gone wild, seen it a hundred times. Ben Paterson turns in a master class of swing with Essential Elements and quietly establishes himself as one of the new young lions of improvisational music.
Cole Porter, Bill Evans, and maybe George and Ira Gershwin are usually found on most trio releases but Essential Elements is a well thought out exploratory on swing with a deceptively subtle blues infusion that includes tunes from Stevie Wonder, Keith Jarrett and Ray Charles. Artistic comparisons are inherently unfair while Paterson's influences on Essential Elements may run along the melodic lines of an Oscar Peterson the presentation is uniquely Ben Paterson.
There is a buoyant lift to Paterson's playing that is complimented by the rhythm section of Joshua Ramos on bass and Jon Deitemyer on drums whose motto would seem to be swing hard or go home! The trio has that uncanny ability of being able to shift dynamics on the fly while never losing that melodic sense of purpose or groove that permeates this release.
Covering pop tunes is both incredibly cliché and potentially lethal if the arrangements are not tight. "Here, There And Everywhere" is given new life while the Ray Charles classic "Hard Times" is pulled from the rich sonic color palate would seem to be the Paterson wheelhouse. Covering Keith Jarrett is a daunting task for the most seasoned of performers yet Paterson rolls through "Lucky Southern" with an understated flair that reinforces the old adage simplicity is the ultimate in sophistication. Two Paterson originals that highlight his prolific ability as a composer are "The Good Stuff" and "St. Marks Place."
Ben Paterson is that new breed of pianist that is transcending some of the more traditional approaches to a classic format with a melodic swing and a blues based improvisational footing that pushes this trio right to the top of that crowded field working the New York scene. This is a throwback release, old school made into an inventive new cool presentation and hopefully just a taste of what is to come from one of improvisational music's rising stars.
Tracks: Golden Lady; Here, There And Everywhere; Back On Track; Around The Block; I Can't Help It; Lucky Southern; I Should Care; The Good Stuff; St. Marks Place; Mor; I've Never Been In Love Before; Hard Times; You're My Everything.
Personnel: Ben Paterson: Piano; Joshua Ramos: Bass; Jon Deitemyer: Drums