Jazz Views weighs in on Pat Battstone’s The Last Taxi: In Transit

Reviewed by Ken Cheetham

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PATRICK BATTSTONE – The Last Taxi, In Transit

Leo Records CD LR 836

Patrick Battstone, piano; Chris Rathbun, double bass; Richard Poole, drums, vibraphone; Ilona Kudina, flutes; Todd Brunel, clarinet; Gianna Montecalvo, vocals, spoken word; Antonella Chionna, vocals, spoken word
Recorded Oct 11 2017 at Dimension Sound Studios, Jamaica Plain, MA and Oct 12 2017 at Rear Window Studios, Brookline, MA

Patrick Battstone had a varied career starting at age 14, initially playing in blues, rock and R+B outfits.  He studied at Berklee; studied the music of Russian composer Scriabin; returned to jazz in 1986.  Scriabin had developed an atonal, dissonant style and this may well have contributed to Battstone’s keen interest in improvisation.

These seven individuals, with all their differing talents, have no difficulty at all in bringing it all together as they display their highly developed abilities to listen and then to respond to each other and to the music being generated, as is always the case with highly skilled, Avant-garde artists.  The discipline is in their blood and each musician has a dynamic, starring role in the whole sound canopy.

This is most clearly heard, perhaps, in Immigrant Song in which an amazing tide of spoken language is gathered to the piano – different leitmotifs from Chionna and Montecalvo being welded via the keys into a solid, thematic idea that others among the musicians can expand upon, clarify and illuminate.

This is a truly remarkable album of thoroughly creative improvisation; the music breaths in quiet beauty.

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