'While We're Still Young,' Sax Man Patrick Cornelius Wants us all to Relive Childhood [REVIEW]
Inspired by When We Were Very Young by A.A. Milne, a book of poetry read to his mom by his grandmother, then read to him by his mom, then read to his daughter by him, composer/bandleader Patrick Cornelius plays alto and soprano sax plus flute in this, his sixth CD, only this time with an octet he assembled for just such an occasion. It's called While We're Still Young (Whirlwind Recordings), and it consists of six wholly entertaining and highly recommended tracks stitched together as a suite.
Milne's whimsy-the childlike (as opposed to childish) delight in the immediate world around them-has resulted in this heady mash of trumpet, tenor sax, bass clarinet, trombone, guitar, piano, bass and drums, arranged and co-produced by Cornelius with Kyle Saulnier under the direction of Executive Producer (and Whirlwind head honcho) Michael Janisch, commissioned by Chamber Music America's new Jazz Works program and a grant from The Doris Duke Foundation.
Compositionally, Cornelius grew to fruition on Duke Ellington, Gil Evans, JS Bach, Claude Debussy, Wayne Shorter and Charlie Parker. His writing zig-zags between seemingly diametrically opposed stances but upon repeated listens, a continuity emerges. The players have a lot to do with that.Drummer Kendrick Scott, bassist Peter Slavov and trombonist Nick Vayenas went to Berklee with him in Boston and have been on three of his previous projects so there's an acuity at work, an almost telepathic insistence to follow-up, let's say, the solo of trumpeter Jason Palmer with some so-cool bass clarinet sound by tenor saxman John Ellis, he of the Double Wide New Orleans group.
Opening with the 9:23 "Sand Between the Toes" and closing with the 10:40 "Vespers," the constant shape-shifting and different grooves are a total delight, akin to what a very young person must feel as it traverses the daily small discoveries of life itself.