I’ve always found it hard to review Pat’s records. He’s one of those almost mystical players who always play so brilliantly, before and after his health problems, that it just seems silly to even comment on his records. This album leaves me feeling the same way.
It’s just an out-and-out blowing session with Pat, the brilliant Joey Defrancesco on B-3, and the great Billy Hart on drums. Guess what? It’s a winner from cut one all the way through!
If you want some hard bop played with fire and imagination, check out “Oleo” or “Recollection.” Pat and Billy tradin’ eights at the end of the former is one of those “goosebump” moments. And, if you just want to be impressed by great chops and fell, the latter will suffice. How about their take on the classic “All Blues.” It’s a seminar. And the last two minutes of this 12-minute showcase highlights Pat’s nonstop flow of ideas. It’s a veritable variation on a theme. “Mac Tough” is cool, with quick switches from James Brown-style funk to swing, and back, in the blink of an eye. Through it all, the soloing is just what the title says. You’ll love “El Hombre,” too – the solo features some open strings alternating with notes from other strings and hammer-ons that give it a real uniqueness.
I could go on, but you know what I’m saying. One of the greats performing here with a brilliant band and playing great.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s Sep. ’01 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.