Recorded at the Bird’s Eye Jazz Club, Basel, Switzerland, on March 21, 2019
Recording engineer: Hannes Kumke
Mixing & mastering engineer: Luca Bulgarelli
Design: Toshie Yank
Executive producer: Satoshi Toyoda – Albore Jazz
Dmitry Baevsky plays a Selmer alto saxophone and Vandoren reeds.
Bernd Reiter plays Canopus drums and Michael Paiste Handmade cymbals.
New York has been the world capital of jazz since decades, most of my heroes lived and played there and it still represents the biggest jazz scene worldwide. I still remember the last days of August 2007 when I first came to NY and had the chance to listen to my idols such as Cedar Walton, Jimmy Cobb, Louis Hayes, and many more.
Paris has a great history for jazz music as well, it was the first place in Europe to present American jazz musicians such as Charlie Parker or Miles Davis, and some of the giants like Bud Powell or Dexter Gordon even stayed and lived there for a certain period. Obviously there has been a strong connection between New York and Paris ever since and our quintet is indeed a reunion of these two major jazz scenes: Joe Magnarelli and Jeb Patton live in New York, Dmitry Baevsky in both cities and Fabien Marcoz and I live in Paris.
Joe Magnarelli has been one of the world’s leading trumpeters for three decades. He moved to New York in 1986 and has worked since then with the Lionel Hampton Big Band, Toshiko Akiyoshi, the Buddy Rich Band, Maria Schneider, the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, and many more. He has a long-standing musical partnership with Dmitry Baevsky and Jeb Patton, the arrangements of our band have been worked out over many years.
Born in St. Petersburg, Dmitry Baevsky moved to New York in 1996 to study at the famous New School and has since become an integral part of the New York jazz scene.
Jeb Patton is one of the outstanding pianists of the younger generation. He studied with Sir Roland Hanna and Jimmy Heath and is a permanent member of the “Heath Brothers” and the “Jimmy Heath Generations Quintet” since then. Further, he worked with Etta Jones, Peter Washington, Lewis Nash, Steve Nelson, Jimmy Cobb, Jackie McLean, Frank Wess, James Moody… His personal, swinging style, presents the entire history of jazz piano from Art Tatum through Phineas Newborn to Cedar Walton.
I met Joe, Dmitry and Jeb on various concerts over the last years, and our bassist Fabien Marcoz when I moved to Paris in 2012. Fabien is one of the finest bassists in Europe and he has accompanied many international soloists in his career, including giants such as Harold Mabern.
The repertoire of the band follows the timeless “Blue Note” recordings, including a nice variety of classics by masters such as Lee Morgan or Sam Jones, some well-known standards and two originals by Joe Magnarelli and Jeb Patton. The compositions require strong section playing on the heads by Joe and Dmitry, supported by an active rhythm-section, and provide the perfect ground for extensive soloing for all the band members.
What you hear on this release is the result of a three-week European tour, which included this live-recording at the Bird’s Eye Basel towards the end of our concert series. It was a great pleasure to be part of this, thanks to the Bird’s Eye for making it happen and of course to Mags, Dmitry, Jeb and Fabien for great playing and wonderful moments on the road! Already looking forward to the next one!!!
Bernd Reiter, November 2019
Many of us dearly miss those life-affirming nights in jazz clubs when a band can do no wrong, blowing as if there’s no tomorrow, and temporarily washing away the workaday realities of existence. The New York-Paris Reunion Quintet’s Live at the Bird’s Eye Jazz Club, Basel takes some of the yearning and emptiness out of waiting for the resumption of public performances. While there’s no substitute for sitting a few feet away from the action, drink in hand, absorbing the sounds with every fiber of your being, and secure in the knowledge that at least some of the people around you share your enthusiasm, the Quintet’s seventy-eight minute recording manages to conjure a similar experience.
Recorded near the end of a three-week European tour, the Quintet offers a large helping of persuasive individual expression in the context of a unified group sound. Regardless of the tracks’ differences in tempo and composition, the record tends to move fast and contains an abundance of telling details. Whether it’s a burner, ballad or something in between, each one of the seven cuts feels like an adventure. Stylistically speaking, the band wears the influence of bebop, yet they’re not particularly concerned with a strict preservation of the genre. Bop is treated as a point of departure, something to be played with and molded by the devices of each musician. The inclusion of Duke Ellington’s “Sophisticated Lady” and pianist Jeb Patton’s stride passages in an introduction to Cole Porter’s “Everything I Love” indicate that the group doesn’t care to be pinned down by any particular branch of the jazz tree. An apparent respect for Ellington’s song doesn’t preclude trumpeter Joe Magnarelli and alto saxophonist Dmitry Baevsky from shaping it in their own ways.
A rhythm section comprised of Patton, bassist Fabien Marcoz and drummer Bernd Reiter incites the heads and soloists. Patton, Marcoz and Reiter generate swing that sounds natural and unaffected, without a trace of overcrowding or incompatibility. Setting a high standard for his work throughout the set, Patton’s edgy, concise chords on the head of George Shearing’s “Conception,” the opening track, sounds every bit as essential as the horns statement of the melody. Marcoz invariably provides a firm, reliable foundation. At one point during Baevsky’s “Everything I Love” solo, the strength of his walking line matches the saxophonist’s long, verbose runs. Reiter’s magnetic snare drum accents add flavor to the music while avoiding any sign of excess or interference. Nimble, multi-stroke figures at key points of the melody of Sam Jones’s “Bittersweet” deliver an unexpected thrust.
Magnarelli, Baevsky and Patton possess distinctive qualities as improvisers and make the most of protracted opportunities to shine. The trumpeter’s voluble and pensive sides are never very far apart. Generally speaking, he executes brisk, weighty runs followed by somewhat sparse fare that is redolent of tenderness and vulnerability. A solo on his composition “Brooklyn” thrives on the tune’s shifting contours. Instead of incessantly blowing over the changes, Magnarelli frequently pauses and changes course. His lengthy, structurally cogent lines morph into something more acerbic when the swing feel turns Latin.
Over the past decade, Baevsky has made great strides in personalizing the vocabulary of bebop. Reminiscent of a cat stretching after a nap, he has a nice way of easing into solos that eventually contain a series of long, edgy, articulately phrased runs. In the course of Lee Morgan’s “Mr. Kenyatta” each of his choruses sounds like a fresh episode.
Patton, a longtime associate of Baevsky on records and live dates, has a knack for offering a lot of information while remaining grounded and accessible. Even while his lines become longer and more intricate during a “Everything I Love” improv, particles of Cole Porter’s tune are always in evidence.
Live at the Bird’s Eye Jazz Club, Basel captures the heat and the intensity of a great night of live jazz without visuals. Highly recommended.