Label: Posi-Tone Records, 2019
Personnel - Patrick Cornelius: alto saxophone; Nick Vayenas: trombone; John Escreet: piano; Ben Allison: bass; Mark Ferber: drums.
New York alto saxophonist Patrick Cornelius surrounds himself of great musicians for his second Posi-Tone album This Should Be Fun, a competent and feel-good exhilaration replete of timeless rhythms and burning jazz moments.
By entrusting the rhythm section to luxurious artists such as pianist John Escreet, bassist Ben Allison, and drummer Mark Ferber, Cornelius could feel at ease. On selected tracks, he teams up with trombonist Nick Vayenas in the frontline, a recurrent collaborator. The latter contributed the only number on the recording that Cornelius didn’t pen: “Dissolution”, a well-measured middle-tempo reflection. However, his effortless melodic work gains a wider dimension on tunes such as “Telescope”, a stimulating 6/8 offering with straightforward parallel motions and perfectly synchronized rhythmic actions, and “Leaving Paradise”, a breezy song with a pronounced bossanova feel, where the bandleader and Escreet also stand out. Saxophonist and pianist find the spotlight again on the clear post-bop waters of the opening piece, “Big Pictures”, where they embark on resolute elocutions and shape spiraling circles, respectively.
Generous concentrations of joy and exuberance are offered on four of the album’s ten pieces: the title track is a hot bluesy churner rooted in the early jazz tradition; “Restless Willow” displays a lively piano figure upfront, combining ingratiating Latin vibes with typical jazz standard progressions that almost make “I’ll Remember April” relive; “Like Kenny” boasts a soulful melodicism and substantial harmonic color; and “One Shy of a Dozen”, a lightning fast 12-bar blues ridden with energy and shook by Escreet’s deliciously twisty details. Everything is laid bare with quick-moving vitality and enormous respect for the past, yet two ballads counterbalance this prevailing cheerful mood: “Precious Souls”, a rubato sax-bass duet, and a tuneful closing story, “For Morgan”.
Advocating arrangements that are both efficacious and uncomplicated, Cornelius makes use of his tunes to emit great vibrations. Most of the support will likely come from straight-ahead jazz circles, but everyone looking for honest true jazz should find something fun here.
02 - Leaving Paradise ► 05 - Telescope ► 09 - Restless Willow