From the November 2012 issue of The New York City Jazz Record.
An announcer at Town Hall (Oct. 12) erred when he introduced the night’s marquee act as the Pat Metheny Group. It was in fact the Pat Metheny Unity Band, with Chris Potter on reeds, Ben Williams on upright bass and Antonio Sanchez on drums. Winding down a worldwide tour, the band dug into material from its eponymous Nonesuch CD but also explored a range of the master guitarist’s older repertoire. Potter’s bass clarinet on the opening “Come and See” was right away a departure — a tone color not found in Metheny’s previous work. There were moments, such as the vivacious coda of “New Year,” the flowing rubato portions of “This Belongs To You,” or the slightly sour harmony of “Interval Waltz,” that pointed to subtle compositional triumphs. Crowd energy surged when Metheny detoured into “James,” an older concert staple, and “Two Folk Songs,” a rare gem from the 80/81 album with Potter in Michael Brecker’s unforgettable role, blowing brutally dissonant tenor sax lines over a simple strumming progression. “Signals,” which found the band creating in tandem with Metheny’s “orchestrion” — a jaw-dropping array of mechanized instruments — was climactic in its way. But the machines were put to even more inspired use in the early ’80s classic “Are You Going With Me,” the first of three encores. Airy textures and beats, meshing with Potter’s gorgeous alto flute (in place of Lyle Mays’ synths), brought the night to another level. (David R. Adler)
After a warm spell of several days, the temperature was dropping just outside Bar on Fifth, on the ground floor of the Setai Hotel (Oct. 6). Pianist Pete Malinverni captured the moment with Vernon Duke’s “Autumn in New York,” easing into a ballad feel with his partners for the night: tenor saxophonist Attilio Troiano, bassist Giuseppe Venezia and drummer Carmen Intorre. Part of the annual Italian Jazz Days series, the gig was Malinverni’s first encounter with these sidemen. The tunes they chose were common standards, sensible hotel bar fare, enlivened by a flexible and alert sense of swing. Malinverni and the rhythm section broke the ice as a trio, opening the first set with “There Will Never Be Another You.” Troiano came on board for “There Is No Greater Love” in a similar midtempo vein. The robust, vibrato-rich sound of his tenor hinted at a Coleman Hawkins influence; it became much clearer when the group offered “Body and Soul,” famously Hawkins’ signature number. Venezia soloed with tenacity throughout the evening, and Intorre’s trading choruses were tight and spirited, not least on an uptempo reading of Cole Porter’s “I Love You.” Malinverni brought a boppish vocabulary and a restrained old-school touch to the music, opting for a faster-than-usual tempo on “Like Someone In Love” but a very slow one on “Stompin’ at the Savoy.” His bandmates took these twists in stride and put forward a sound impeccably steeped in the tradition. (DA)