A Few Minutes With… Brian Patneaude

February 28th, 2012, 1:00 pm by Greg
Brian Patneaude

Brian Patneaude

Interview and story by J Hunter
Photographs by Michael P. Farrell

One thing I’ve been meaning to do is put a milk bottle next to my computer and use it as the equivalent of a “swear box”: Instead of chucking a quarter in every time I let my serial Tourettes get away from me, I’d put a quarter in the bottle every time I use a word or phrase way too much to describe an artist or an artist’s work. For instance, if I put a quarter in the bottle every time I used the term “growth curve” when writing about tenorman Brian Patneaude, I’d be able to do laundry until 2016. But here’s the problem: The phrase keeps fitting the purpose. For five releases – Patneaude’s 2003 debut “Variations” to his brand new disc “All Around Us” – Patneaude has shown himself to be a little bit stronger, a little bit better, and (most importantly) a little bit different with each release.

Anyone who’s followed Patneaude’s musical journey will listen to “All Around Us” and recognize elements of past songs in the blissful “Lake Timeless,” the pulsing “Orb,” or the frenetic “Blucosele.” However, those same listeners will have to acknowledge that there’s much more to Patneaude’s performance than just doing the same thing a little bit differently: His sound is broader; his writing searches deeper; and his solos are edgier with more than a hint of snarl at their peak. You can still hear the influence of the late Michael Brecker, but Patneaude’s always kept his ears open for new influences from today and yesterday. Allowing himself to grow and change has kept his music and his approach fresh, both with his own band and with the hard-bop classics he’s been playing with Michael Benedict’s Bopitude.

Speaking of bands, “All Around Us” may have Patneaude’s name at the top of the masthead, but this disc is the first recorded sighting of the Brian Patneaude Quartet – now featuring monster pianist David Caldwell-Mason – since the 2007 release “As We Know It.” Patneaude took time out of his preparations for his Saturday (March 3) CD release party at the College of Saint Rose’s Massry Center to talk about this, as well as some of the changes in his professional and personal life that have made the growth curve steepen that much more.

(See? I’m out 50 cents already!)

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