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Petrucelli, John: Presence

John Petrucelli is an American saxophonist/composer who released his debut album titled The Way in 2015. In 2018 he released his sophomore effort Presence, a live two disc set recorded at the New Hazlett Theater, Pittsburgh, PA. I believe the band has remained the same since the first album but with an additional string section. The musicianship is superb with the band exhibiting the utmost of creativity while still shining in a melodic sense. It almost seems too easy as the band ebb and flow through odd meter changes and musical change ups converging with some great solo spots throughout the fifteen tracks.

The disc opens with “Prelude”, featuring just Petrucelli’s tenor saxophone, giving the listener a first glimpse into his imaginative playing. The next track “Intentions” has the band’s adventurous intentions coming to the fore as odd meter changes, complex drum patterns and melodic saxophone take the listener on a riveting musical journey through classical and jazz. The lyrical guitar solo is absolutely fabulous. On “Field Of Heaven”, solo piano, sax and drums take the musicianship to astounding heights. Again, complexity is mixed with melody and the results are excellent. Petrucelli dedicates “Bridge, Not An End” to his mentor Geri Allen (RIP) highlighted with wonderful backing orchestrations and top notch band interplay including standout guitar and sax solos. Of course the rhythm section shouldn’t be forgotten as the drums and bass add a propulsive force, slowing and increasing the tempo with great aplomb. The first disc ends with the dramatic “Garden Of The Angels” where the band continues to soar highlighted by Petrucelli’s wonderful sax solo. The cello solo also makes an indelible mark.

Highlights on the second disc include the heavily orchestrated “Sly”, beginning with an unforgettable bass solo, the melodic piano motif and outstanding bass figure in the gently enrapturing “Summon The Spirit” and the pretty ballad “For One To Know” featuring wonderful strings and luxurious saxophone.

Presence is really an exceptional live document that all fans of jazz should at least check out at the very minimum. This one has really struck a chord, at least with this reviewer. Highly recommended.

Track Listing:
Disc One
1. Prelude (2:20)
2. Intentions (6:49)
3. Field Of Heaven (9:55)
4. Bridge, Not An End (10:27)
5. Garden Of The Angels (8:09)
Disc Two
6. Sly (6:48)
7. Summon The Spirit (8:52)
8. For One To Know (7:01)
9. Scallop Shell Of Quiet (10:04)
10. Mercury Crossing (11:23)

Added: June 10th 2019
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artist's Official Site
Hits: 942
Language: english

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