Review - Everything Starts Now


Veteran saxophonist Michael Pedicin has released his newest offering on The Jazz Hut label, Everything Starts Now. Pedicin has had multiple releases under his own name and has enjoyed associations with Dave Brubeck and Maynard Fergusson over the years. The acoustic quintet here documented 10 tunes for this straight-ahead album rooted in the traditional sounds of classic Blue Note, Prestige and ECM recordings.

The very capable quartet backing Pedicin features fellow Philadelphians Chris Colangelo on acoustic bass and Mick Rossi on piano. Michael Sarin on drums and composer/guitarist Johnnie Valentino round out the ensemble. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Mike Pedicin, Mick Rossi and Chris Colangelo when they all lived and worked in Atlantic City. They are among the finest musicians I’ve had the pleasure to work with and it is a pleasure to listen to them play together after a separation of many years.

The opening track, Pelican beckons the listener with a subdued start reminiscent of that popular ECM sound of the 70s and early 80s. Pedicin’s sound is his own but the tenor sings ala Jan Garbarek at times. Not a bad start at all to this record!

This Way Out, the second track on the Cd begins with some nice interplay in the quintet let by Pedicin and Valentino. Colangelo’s bass sound is a big as a house. Chris always has had a great sound on both electric and acoustic bass. The Latin groove builds with Mike Pedicin taking the first chorus, followed by Colangelo on bass. It’s refreshing to hear the bass solo mid-tune, rather than after everyone else has had his turn. Rossi then takes his turn with a sparse, punctuated solo exemplifying his ability to think and play out of the box. The final statement in this piece breaks down into a free-sounding exchange between all but the bass.

L.A. to Philly begins with Colangelo’s bass, again big as a house. The melody swings along with brief melodic tantrums inserted by the unison tenor and guitar line. The solos are more adventurous here. The quintet weaves in and out from the traditional to the almost avant-guard. This is not a “free” recording however the sensibilities of the ensemble seem to lean this way at times. As in This Way Out, the ensemble picks and prods each other to push the boundaries on the final vamp – This time Colangelo joins in.

The anthem One of Us, the only non-Valentino compositionbrings one of the sweetest and calming moments on Everything Starts Now. Mick Rossi shows a much more lyrical side here.

Track 5 entitled Contours takes off with a militant snare and bass drum duo followed by the tenor and guitar statement. Valentino, Rossi and Pedicin follow suit with solos. After the Rainbow is Over showcases Rossi’s formidable talents with his piano interlude. The contrapuntal interlude blooms into the final statement by the ensemble. The ending vamp here concludes with the ensemble coaxing each other out of the harmonic comfort zone.

Concatenation is a playful Monkish head followed by the tender and pensive ballad Another Day.

Everything Starts Now offers its last surge of energy on the angry swinger Later. PianistRossi and drummer Michael Sarin shine toward the end as the musical sparring session turns to drum solo. The haunting title cut leaves the listener with Pedicin’s waning tenor sound ringing last. A very fitting end to this musical journey entitled Everything Starts Now.

It’s interesting to note the influences in Michael Pedicin’s tenor playing throughout this recording. Mike is a veteran. He’s not a newcomer. At times I hear shades of Sonny, Jan, and the whole post-Coltrane thing. There are times when his tone seems closer to Lovano’s than the previous mentioned influences. What is certain is those years of listening, playing and absorbing the jazz culture has seen Mike transform into and artist with many influences and complex musical sides.

Review by Skip Spratt

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