Listen Up: Wednesday, December 19, 2002
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Jay Patten

All in Blue Time (Maximus Records)

By Michael Pellecchia

Jay Patten is a Nashville jazzbo who long ago traded the possibility of fame as a solo artist for the certainty of anonymous work in studios and on celebrity road trips. The whole time, he has kept his individual spark going by steadily releasing solo albums. All in Blue Time is the latest in a string of solo titles that began in the 1980s with Impressions of Christmas. His early work is fusion-based, but his recent material is oriented toward swinging standards. Patten goes even further down the swing road with his latest. That’s Patten on vocals, Patten on sax, Patten on guitar, Patten’s songwriting pen behind seven of the songs, and also Patten’s fingers on the mixing boards — he co-produced this project with his Nashville-based “Swing Noir Orchestra.”

Jeff Steinberg’s arrangements put the listener in mind of small horn-band aggregations of the past (think: Marty Paich’s Dek-tette). Buddy DeFranco, the greatest living jazz clarinetist, brings this project full circle as a special guest, delivering spellbinding solos on several cuts. (As leader of the Glenn Miller ghost band in the 1970s, DeFranco employed young Berklee graduate Patten as the 1940s revival band’s vocalist.) If the music hews closely to the sounds of yesteryear, it’s because there’s so much for Patten to draw from. Whether it’s the clever use of organ in various songs or the “laughing” DeFranco solo in “It’s Funny To Everyone But Me,” craft is combined with irony to make an intelligent listener feel anything but nostalgic.

Standards bubble up every few years, usually the result of sincere, almost reverential albums like this. If Patten’s All in Blue Time is as popular as we think it is good, then it ought to win over some johnnny-come-latelys as well as please those who have been loving this kind of sparkling, swinging sound for a long time.


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