Deez to Blues: Mario Pavone
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Mario Pavone – bass
Steven Bernstein – trumpet, slide trumpet
Howard Johnson – tuba, baritone sax, bass clarinet
Charles Burnham – violin
Peter Madsen – piano
Michael Sarin – drums
1. zines
2. deez
3. xapo
4. dances 3/5
5. day of the dark bright light
6. ocbo
7. second-term blues
Bassist/composer Mario Pavone's 17th recording as a leader/co-leader, and his third to feature trumpeter/arranger Steve Bernstein, documents six new original Pavone compositions that feature his trademark style of putting the rhythm section at the center of the action and casting traditional lead instruments in a supporting role. Recorded in May 2005, following tours of Western Europe and the Greater New York area celebrating Pavone's 40th anniversary in music, Deez To Blues also features a performance of the Marty Ehrlich composition, "Day of the Dark Bright Light."
Top 10 of 2006 List
— Tom Hull, Village Voice
Best Jazz Albums of 2006 List
— Fred Kaplan,'s hard to think who else has delivered so much consistently high-quality new jazz since the turn of the decade. This is his masterpiece to date...An essential contemporary record.
— The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings, 9th. ed.
Pavone's strum-saturated solo sound takes on Jaco-sized speed and precision, the thicket of snaps and plucks sounding like they're coming from a half dozen hands.
— Derek Taylor, Cadence
Pianist Peter Madsen and drummer Michael Sarin, who have worked with himextensively in the past, form the core of the sextet, but each of Pavone'sguests makes significant contributions to this bold music. Howard Johnsonadds diverse horn textures and smart improvisation, alternating on tuba,baritone sax and bass clarinet. Trumpeter Steven Bernstein and violinistCharlie Burnham also help flesh out Pavone's thorny compositions.
— Chuck Obuchowski, Hartford Courant (Best of 2006 list)
He attacks his acoustic bass, strumming the strings, pulling on themforcefully, as if the music inside was hiding. Bernstein's bluesy, boozy,slide trumpet lines are a perfect foil for Johnson's tuba and baritonesaxophone (his solo on "Day of the Dark Bright Light" is quite lovely) whileBurnham's classy yet blues-soaked lines work especially well with Madsen'sfacile yet exciting piano breaks (his romp through "Xabo" is worth the priceof the disk.) Sarin is the unsung hero here, providing a soft cushion on theballads and really "stoking the coals" on the up-tempo tracks. If you havenot already added Deez to Blues to your collection, wait no longer.
— Richard Kamins, Hartford Courant (See! Hear! blog)
Best New Issues
— Troy Collins, Cadence Record Poll 2006
As with his other work, the compositions are imbued with a sense of restlessness, a constanbtly shifting terrain that changes course so rapidly that initial trips can sometimes prove hard to grasp—but that is the pleasure of Pavone's music, and for those willing to follow the labyrinthian structures, the rewards are considerable. With Deez to Blues, Pavone has added another chapter to his already deep catalog, with a record that is both opaque and demanding, yet also joyous in its own right.
— Jay Collins, Signal to Noise
Una spinta creativa, quella di Pavone, che non smette mai di creare novità e che coinvolge ogni volta musicisti di alto livello in opere che restano.
— Vittorio Lo Conte, AllAboutJazz-Italia
The complex interaction is wondrous.
— Tom Hull, F5 Magazine
Rounded out by a traditional rhythm section of piano and drums, the sonic palette is rife with possibilities as Bernstein is joined on the front-line by violin and/or tuba, baritone sax or bass clarinet. From the insistent swing of "Ocbo" to the gentle beauty and lyricism of "Day of the Dark Bright Light," Pavone has crafted yet another gem. If you have yet to discover this stalwart of the New York City scene, now is the time and this is the place.
— James Lamperetta, The Saratogian
His groups have often found a prominent place for brass instruments, and the combination of Bernstein and Johnson provides plenty of scope for inventive mayhem on this outing, while also placing a very broad palette of instrumental timbre and texture at the leader’s disposal. Burnham's violin adds an intriguing voice to the surging, tumbling group interplay while the rhythm trio lies frimly at the heart of everything that goes on in the music, often carrying the melody line while the horns provide support in an unusual role-reversal pattern. Intense and absorbing music.
— Kenny Mathieson, Jazzwise
...Pavone finds himself in the company of some of the East Coast's finest improvisers for a set of compositions that push the tradition forward while always looking back to its origins. Much like his stylistic forefather, Charles Mingus, Pavone's notion of Jazz tradition is playful yet reverent. With intricate, chart driven structures and supple interaction between the rhythm section, Pavone's music is a multi-layered splendor.
— Troy Collins, Cadence
Pavone's bass is certainly at the center of everything, the core force that drives the piano and drums of longtime comrades Peter Madsen and Michael Sarin, while perturbing Steven Bernstein's trumpets, Howard Johnson's bass horns, and Charles Burnham's violin more erratically. The complexity, even on "Second-Term Blues," is wondrous. A MINUS.
— Tom Hull, Village Voice
Pavone's music is in constant flux and flow, flying along the outer edge of the envelope but never losing its grip on the basics.
— Fred Kaplan, The Absolute Sound
...Deez to Blues is impossible to tune out, impossible to turn down. It demands nothing less than your undivided attention.
— Brent Burton,
As a radio programmer, the difficulty with Mario Pavone's releases is not how to find a cut worthy of play, but how to determine which cut to play. Always compelling, Mario's compositions and releases continue to satisfy. It's hard not to compare him with the great Charles Mingus. He is a consummate bass player, composer and leader. On his new release, he takes the correlation one step closer, focusing on using the bass as a lead instrument...and as a leader compels his sidemen to come up with some of their best performance work. Each tune makes an important statement, and each player gets a chance to shine on Deez to Blues. Each time I play the release I'm glad I always contributes to a more inspiring show. Those who have yet to learn of Mario, need to learn.
— Larry Blood, Host of KUSP-FM's Out Front, Out Back
Laudable bassist/composer Mario Pavone's seventeenth solo effort provides an abundance of curiously interesting propositions amid its inherent, entertaining qualities...Pavone stands tall among his peers with this highly listenable endeavor, featuring off-kilter phraseologies, fluid rhythms and spirited soloing.
— Glenn Astarita,
...another example of why I find this guy always worth listening to. His albums come in and they go to the top of the pile that I have to be listening to pretty quickly because they're inventive, they're intriguing and he is a fun writer. And, he's been working with some of these guys for a long time so there's a great cohesion to the music that he plays. The fact is, this band always sounds bigger—all of Mario Pavone's bands sound bigger than they actually are. He gets the most out of the different colors he can work with and the individual musicians. I recommend this guy a lot.
— Neil Tesser, Listen Here!
New to the Pavone orbit are Howard Johnson, a triple threat on tuba, baritone saxophone and bass clarinet, who provides a welcome low-pitched anchor, and violinist Charles Burnham, known for his work with the Odyssey trio, adding string quivers that range from classic Swing lines to near Old Timey country hoedowns. Returning are subtle drummer Michael Sarin and pianist Peter Madsen, whose flashing runs wring nuances from the music without hogging the spotlight.
— Ken Waxman, Coda
****1/2...Pavone made wise decisions in terms of personnel and material. Compositionally, the bassist builds upon contrasts (a skittish line against a loping groove on "'Zines"), role reversal (piano and bass state the melody on "Xapo" while the horns trace the harmonic movement) and giving well-worn forms new elasticity (the woozy "Second-Term Blues"). Also, he never fails to implant an effective hook.
— Bill Shoemaker, DownBeat
His sound is woody, bold, and vibrant and seems to add luster to everyone around him. That's quite an accomplishment when those around him are so illustrious on their own...Pavone's compositions—six of the seven tracks are his—give them plenty to chew on...the solos nest within the ensemble, feeding off the colors around them.
— David Dupont, One Final Note
On Deez To Blues, a sextet featuring acerbic trumpeter Steven Bernstein, violinist Charles Burnham and the consummate doubler Howard Johnson showcase Pavone's quirky, angular pieces in all their idiosyncratic beauty...each member contributes memorable solo statements. For all the powerful statements made by the horns, the real show here is in the remarkable rhythm section...Madsen's piano is both a pliant foundation and a soloistic force to be reckoned with, while the always tasteful drum work of Michael Sarin is shown here in all its grace and understatement. Of course, one would be remiss in neglecting to mention the astonishing contribution of the leader himself in this memorable outing...especially on "Second-Term Blues" [Pavone's playing] is razor sharp and will surely draw the rapt attention of any bass lover.
— Matthew Miller, AllAboutJazz-New York
Recommended New Release
— David Adler, AllAboutJazz-New York (April 2005)
Recommended New Release
— Laurence Donohue-Greene, AllAboutJazz-New York (April 2005)
The music itself swings without ever being predictable...the solos are all strong with an edgy 'now' sound about them. And, all the musicians feel quite obviously at home in this idiom which seamlessly blends bop and free as well as in and out.
— Justin Glick, WNUR-FM (Evanston, IL)
Publisher's Pick (March 5th, 2006)
— Michael Ricci,
This dynamic rhythm team has been together for over a decade and sound especially spirited, always moving tightly together, expanding, contracting and shifting like an organic motor...those in the know should buy this treasure chest of delights.
— Bruce Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery
The bassist's contrapuntal writing updates the jazz tradition in subtle, inventive ways, bending the rules, rather than breaking them. Pavone's music exudes a living, breathing quality; his sextet is all ears, as well as muscle. Deez to Blues is a high water mark in a consistently exceptional discography.
— Troy Collins,
Deez to Blues is a triumph for Pavone and a record that will leave an indelible impression.
— Jerry D'Souza,