Ben Patterson is an incredible trombonist, composer, and arranger, and I was very happy to see this album get made last year, just as a fan. I’ve loved the stuff he’s done with Airmen Of Note, with whom I first became aware of his axe. This album is with the typically fantastic musicians that tend to conglomerate around people like Ben, so I knew it would be top-notch before I listened to it.
Having listened to it a couple of times, that opinion holds. It is a very high-energy album, very well performed, and very-well engineered, with some nice musical humor thrown in for good measure. It sounds great. And the featured soloist Chris Potter, for jazz fans, needs no further attribution.
My only gripes with the album are really just personal preference at this point in my listening life: I wish there was more contrast between arrangements on the album. When I saw that this is a very high-energy album, this applies to every track. There is not really any significant break in energy – just a few moments like the opening of Anxiously Awaiting, the fifth track, which opens with a beautiful, quiet Potter presentation of the melody. However, that is just my preference; the consistency of energy across the album can be also be considered a great strength.
This is also a great trombonist’s album, featuring great solo work and great section work from the trombones. Ben Polk on bass trombone really is a joy to hear laying down junk at the bottom.
I highly recommend checking this one out.