Born in Schenectady, New York and now regionally based in the Albany, New York and surrounding counties area, saxophonist and composer Brian Patneaude has performed at jazz festivals in Montreal, Kingston, Saratoga, Albany and Rochester in addition to working with Alex Torres & His Latin Orchestra and the Empire Jazz Orchestra. He currently teaches privately and maintains an Albany, New York oriented jazz website. He holds a degree in Music Education from The College of St. Rose and did graduate work at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music.
In 2002 Patneaude formed his own quartet including George Muscatello on guitar, Mike DelPrete on bass, drummer Danny Whelchel and frequent guest pianist Dave Payette. The group is featured on this, Patneaude’s third CD as a leader.
As We Know It is about as subtle an affair as one can record and still have the music be termed progressive. While there are up-tempo tunes, none of them are rippers that roar. Mostly the fare consists of delicate compositions played lightly in a manner reminiscent of Don Grolnick’s Hearts And Numbers CD, which interestingly enough featured Michael Brecker to whom this disc is dedicated.
While the overall effect is understated, there is still intricate work going on. On "Will You Be" the ensemble journeys through the open interval-laden melody before taking on solos that show respect for the song by using bits and pieces of it in their phrases. Patneaude and Muscatello have an interesting simultaneous musical conversation at the end of the piece where they play off of each other that is the highlight of the disc. It’s obvious they’ve worked together for a number of years as they each seemingly know where the other is going to go before the other even starts a phrase.
There are some interesting ballads, including "Simple Truth." On these tracks Whelchel’s percussion work is the highlight. It’s all too easy on tunes such as these for the drum set work to be predictable and boring. Whelchel’s cymbal coloring helps to keep these pieces alive. Like Brecker, Patneaude tends towards use of diminished scales in his solos and it’s in the ballads where his shadings of timbre, combined with the use of these scales, works to his best advantage.
While there are parts of the disc that are too sleepy, the musicians almost but not quite seeming to be going through the motions, Patneaude shows he has a distinctive and smooth sound that harkens back to the work of John Klemmer.