Fierce by Patrick Cornelius
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Release Date: Nov 8, 2010: Worldwide Stores and Digital
Over the past several years, alto saxophonist Patrick Cornelius has emerged as one of the strongest new voices on the New York Jazz scene. His debut WWR release, Fierce, will no doubt go down as an important addition to the saxophone trio format and features a bumper crop of exciting young talents: Johnathan Blake (drums), Michael Janisch (bass), Nick Vayenas (trombone), and Mark Small (tenor saxophone).
Fierce features nine memorably inventive original compositions for this “Chordless Jazz Ensemble,” showcasing his talents as “a composer of dusky elegance” (JazzTimes), as well as a wild romp through imaginative musical playgrounds, featuring dynamic interplay, blistering grooves and virtuosic intensity. “I wanted to create an album that reflects the giddy unbridled joy that I feel whenever I play jazz,” Cornelius explains. “I also wanted to write music that fills up and rounds out the Chordless Jazz Ensemble. In so many instances, saxophone trios or quartets without piano or guitar sound abstract and esoteric to many listeners. I wanted to write music for this particular instrumentation that is melodic and accessible without compromising the format’s inherent freedom. "But most importantly,” the leader adds, “I wanted the make music that is FUN to listen to!”
One listen to Fierce’s blinding title track makes it clear why the jazz world’s top rising stars are eager to play with Patrick. His recent shows in the New York area have included some of the brightest stars of the new generation: Lionel Loueke, Aaron Parks, Aaron Goldberg, Kendrick Scott, Gretchen Parlato, Gerald Clayton, Ari Hoenig and Ambrose Akinmusire. Cornelius’ bands can be regularly seen performing at such famed NY venues as The Blue Note Jazz Club, Smalls, & The Jazz Gallery and he often crosses the pond to perform across Europe, and, especially in the UK where he has a large and dedicated fan-base. He cut his teeth performing in his native San Antonio while still in high school, before attending both Berklee College of Music and The Manhattan School of Music on full scholarships for undergraduate and graduate studies.
"Cornelius offers some of the most melodic and thoughtful playing heard on a new release all year... a truly notable album."
"Passing Notes" 88.9 FM WDNA
"Cornelius' alto playing has a richness and humanity to it—it's a refreshing and lyrical sound that creates a warm and often mellow mood... a warm, inviting and often rather measured—thoughtful, considered and reflective—collection of lovely tunes."
All About Jazz
"Compositional smarts and a centered warmth in his attitude mark him out."
"The music and performances are inspiringly creative and the musicians are fully committed to the task of performing cohesively as a unit."
"Cornelius is articulate and plays the kind of improvisations the listener can follow all the way with ease while still enjoying the excitement of the sudden unexpected turn. It’s amazing how full this band sounds...In fact, it’s all down to the writing."
The Jazz Breakfast (UK)
"US altoist Patrick Cornelius calls this album 'the distillation of all the joy, hope, exhilaration, and wonder that music has brought to my life', and for sheer vitality and exuberance, its nine tracks are indeed hard to beat."
"The freshness, spontaneity and vitality of the session is immediately discernible to the listener. “Fierce” simply bristles with intent. The music of chordless line ups is sometimes reckoned to be something of a challenge for both the musicians and the listener but in the case of Patrick Cornelius’ trio it’s one the players clearly relish and also one which the listener can positively enjoy."
The Jazz Mann
"The music moves from note to note with purpose and, as Cornelius desires, joyfully. It sounds relaxed, confident; Cornelius strolls through the melodies with style and grace…Cornelius’ compositions leave you in a good mood, which, I’m certain was his exact intention."
A Hand in the Act of Writing
"A confident, highly accomplished assertive musician with a strong take-no-prisoners sound."
"With Fierce, his second CD as a leader, Cornelius showcases imagination and composing skills to match his sax chops, he infuses Fierce with texture built on a sense of adventure, a sense of fun, an abundance of accessible melody and a true band approach to the playing."
San Antonio Express
"The interplay of the rhythm section with the leader is impressive and Cornelius responds with solos that range far afield but never lose focus. He's got fire and grace, showing no need to compromise on his vision."
"Cornelius is articulate and plays the kind of improvisations the listener can follow all the way with ease while still enjoying the excitement of the sudden unexpected turn.. it’s amazing how full this band sounds, it’s all down to the writing."
The Jazz Breakfast
"Bold performances that are creative and, yes, occasionally fierce."
All About Jazz