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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Kostas Patsiotis Quartet


Review by Gary Hill

Kostas Patsiotis is responsible for the compositions and arrangements on this album. He also plays the doublebass parts here. You might think that second part would mean that this is bass heavy. It's not. This is all about the full picture rather than focusing on one musician. There are solo sections, but these generally don't play like something meant to shine the light constantly on one musician. This is fresh music built on the rich history of jazz. At times it moves toward fusion, but it's generally more aligned with more mainstream jazz sound. However you label this, though, it's an effective set of instrumental music.

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Track by Track Review
Guitar gets things underway. Other instruments join and we're off into a classy piece that has a nice tempo and some cool melodies. While each instrument is distinct, this plays as an ensemble performance more than a series of solos that some jazz can become. Everything here works toward a goal of creating the full sonic journey. That said, there are some moments where the piano really manages stand particularly tall. This wanders into more exploratory sounds at points, too, leaning toward fusion at points. It still makes its way back to more familiar themes from there. There is also some killer guitar work later in the number.
The title track begins on percussion. Bass joins and they continue in that motif for a time. At the one-minute mark piano joins and the arrangement evolves upward. I really love some of the jazz guitar exploration later, and this number has some definite world music vibes in place. It's a growing and swinging number that has so much style and charm. It drops to an unaccompanied piano solo around the three-quarters mark of the song. A short reprise of the main themes and arrangement serves to close to the track.
Piano and percussion gets us underway here. The song evolves into a slow blues type arrangement. It begins building outward from there. This gets very involved and potent as they musicians explore the sonic space. The piano really steals the show at times on this. The intensity and invigorated groove that this gets into is positively captivating. There is also some cool guitar soloing built into the track.
Last Scene
This starts with a cool groove. The track works outward from there, building on great instrumental collaboration. The guitar really shows some smoking hot soloing on this number, and the energy and intensity on this is among the best of the disc. In fact, this track might be my favorite one here. It gets into some really fusion-;like territory at times, and this features some amazing interplay between that guitar and piano.
Unexpected Invention
Bass starts this number by itself and manages to be the featured instrument in a lot of this track. While this is slower moving and more restrained, it just oozes cool. It does manage to power up somewhat for a guitar solo section, but it also drops to unaccompanied piano beyond that.
Lesson 1
Coming in more fully realized and dramatic, this is another killer jazz excursion. There is some scorching guitar soloing on this piece. It really gets intense and powerful. This really fires on all cylinders, and is another standout piece.
Vicious Cycle
We get one final helping of tasty jazz stylings here. This one is perhaps not as strong as a couple of the others here, but it's certainly effective. I personally think the previous song might have made a stronger closer, but the guitar soloing on this piece does really elevate it. The piano solo is also a powerhouse.
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