Jazz Times Critics' Picks 2003
Jeff Waggoner - Top 10 CDs:
1. Dave Holland Quintet - Extended Play (ECM)
2. Terence Blanchard - Bounce (Blue Note)
3. Art Ensemble of Chicago - For Lester (ECM)
4. Greg Osby - St. Louis Shoes (Blue Note)
5. Marc Copland/Greg Osby - Round & Round (Nagel-Heyer)
6. Dave Douglas - Freak In (RCA/Bluebird)
7. Charles Davis - Blue Gardenia (Reade Street Records)
8. Teddy Edwards - Smooth Sailing (HighNote)
9. The Bad Plus - These Are The Vistas (Columbia)
10. BRIAN PATNEAUDE QUARTET - VARIATIONS (WEPA Records)
"Tenor saxophonist Brian Patneaude and his quartet display a strong group aesthetic on their debut disc, Variations. Patneaude has a lithe, controlled sound not unlike Michael Brecker, and guitarist George Muscatello's snakelike intensity brings to mind both Pat Metheny and Pat Martino. The duo makes solid use of harmonically complex dual guitar/sax arrangements urged on by drummer Danny Whelchel and bassist Ryan Lukas. Muscatello's fascination with avant-garde guitarist/composer Leo Brouwer takes center stage on a few cuts, while Patneaude pays homage to modern sax giant Joe Lovano on "Jolo." There is a softness to Variations, a sensitivity to melody and harmonic color, that belies an improvisational muscularity. This is a highly accomplished debut recording that truly is the sum of some excellent parts."
- All Music Guide (****)
" ... a super-hip sound ... perfectly balances inventive improvisation with slippery-smooth melodies for a sound as refreshing as it is classic."
- Seven Days, Burlington, VT
"Variations is a fabulous recording ... amazingly fresh in both concept and execution ... a major find as far as a terrific recording coming as a total & pleasant surprise, indeed ..."
- Mike Schwartz KSJS 90.5 FM, San Jose, CA
"Variations is the work of young professionals who have developed their own ideas about the direction of their music and customize their compositions to fit their musical personalities ... the tightness of the quartet establishes a distinctive style that constantly catches the listener off guard with it's unpredictability ... you'll be hearing more of Patneaude's quartet in the future"
"... fresh melodic modern jazz played with passion. I expect these guys to be of a higher profile very soon."
- Phil Grenadier - trumpeter & Fresh Sound New Talent recording artist
"We'll be hearing a great deal from this group in years to come."
The Brian Patneaude Quartet was formed in the spring of 2002 as part of an ongoing Sunday night residency at Justin's in Albany, NY. Comprised of guitarist George Muscatello, bassist Ryan Lukas, drummer Danny Whelchel and saxophonist Brian Patneaude, the tight foursome have quickly crafted a sound all their own. Their eclectic blend of jazz styles incorporates everything from hard bop and fusion to rock and modern classical music.
BRIAN PATNEAUDE (tenor saxophone)
Named "Best Jazz" by Metroland magazine in 2003 and 2004, Brian Patneaude is easily one of the busiest musicians of New York's 'Capital District'. In addition to leading his own Quartet (with two critically acclaimed releases to their credit) the saxophonist also maintains an active performance schedule with salsa/merengue favorites Alex Torres and his Latin Orchestra, the DJ + live instruments project Nouveau Chill, and the award winning Empire Jazz Orchestra. While not performing, Patneaude maintains www.albanyjazz.com, an online guide to the region's jazz community.
GEORGE MUSCAETELLO (guitar)
The seeds of the quartet were planted back in 1995 when Brian was first introduced to guitarist George Muscatello. Muscatello had just returned to the area after studying at the prestigious Manhattan School of Music in New York City. While at Manhattan the guitarist honed his skills with Wayne Krantz and Rodney Jones while immersing himself in the music of modern classical composers such as Bela Bartok and Leo Brouwer. The guitarist has since become quite well known throughout the Capital District for his weekly jazz series at Savannah's (which ran every Monday night for three years) and the Lionheart Cafe (every Tuesday night for four years before that) in addition to performances with such heavy hitters such as Nick Brignola, Chuck D'Aloia, and Dave Calarco. George brings a unique sound and compositional approach to the quartet with his many musical influences ranging from free jazz to contemporary classical.
DANNY WHELCHEL (drums)
Drummer Danny Whelchel spent the majority of his life in Lafayette, Louisiana before moving to upstate New York in the fall of 1997. Since that time he has performed with a slew of the area's top talent including Ray Alexander, Adrian Cohen, Soul Session, Carl Landa, Amy Abdou, Jeff Gonzales, Bob Warren, Michael Jerling, Jocamo, Pangaea, Out Of Control, and the Refrigerators. Danny is currently dance accompanist with the Ellen Sinopoli Company and the Emma Wilard School.
RYAN LUKAS (acoustic bass)
Originally from Rochester, NY, bassist Ryan Lukas studied at the Crane School of Music in Potsdam, NY before relocating to New York's Capital District. In addition to the quartet, the in-demand acoustic & electric bassist performs regularly with the Latin groups Sensemaya and Mundo Nuevo, blue band Burbon Renewal w/George Fletcher, the Joey Thomas Big Band, jazz vocalist Laurel Masse, keyboardist Rob Lindquist, hip hop combo Fund the Mentals, and Tom Burre's Boneoil. Ryan also co-leads Family Tree with drummer Steve Candlen.