I was given Patrick Boone's album by Jesse Bradley to hear a very tight combo with whom he was playing. I enjoy Jesse's guitar playing whether solo, in a duo with vocalists such as Cynthia Speer or in a quartet, so I was disappointed that he is only on the groups' take of Victor Young's "Stella By Starlight," but I have to thank Jesse because Patrick Boone's Short Stories is a very fine album. I thought magnificent was over the top so I'm sticking with very fine.
Patrick has done everything right if you want to make a little gem of an album that is destined to age well. Although the band members change a bit from track to track everyone of the seven players is superb and the direction of the band is excellent. These guys sound like they play together everyday.
Patrick chose to feature two of his original pieces and he must have had a lot to choose from because the selected pieces "Song for Bree" and "Rocket Science" sound right at home with Jerry Bergonzi's "Red's Blues" and Woody Shaw's "The Moontrane." The most deadly trap an artist can fall into is picking poor material and it seems Patrick has made it his creed to pick only the finest. Richard Rogers' "Have You Met Miss Jones" and "Tadd's Delight" by Tadd Dameron are included as is "Confirmation" by Charlie Parker and John Coltrane's "Giant Steps." While there is nothing like hearing the original, this album has such fine performances it deserves a spot in any jazz collection. Plus if you can do them justice, selections this fine can not hurt your CD.
I think if I were pressed to say what the highlights on this album are I would list them in the following order: "Song For Bree," followed by "The Moontrane," and then "Stella By Starlight" with every other song tied for fourth place. As to "Stella," one listen will convince you of Patrick's wisdom in selecting Mr. Bradley for this performance, however you will want to listen more than once. Stella opens with a minute and nineteen second (1:19) solo on Jesse's Gibson guitar and then, an abrupt change to tenor saxophone and what on my first listen I thought was a piano. However, there is no piano. That very rich sound is Jesse Bradley on his Gibson. It's amazing.
Patrick Boone has, as Scott Yanow says in the liner notes, "a passionate and personal voice that cannot be mistaken for anyone else," and I have to say I can't disagree with that. Patrick can turn a phrase with the very best of them and I do mean the very best of the saxophone speaking world, yet he is not a mimic. In the best improvisational traditions he has listened to those who spoke before and those who are speaking still and he has added his own distinct voice. I think in the future you will hear people saying, "This cat sounds like Patrick Boone." They will certainly mean the comment as a compliment.