Paul Beaudry & Pathways – Americas – Soundkeeper Recordings SR4004 – 24/96 audio-only DVD, 51:34 ****:
(Paul Beaudry – bass; Tim Armacost – tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone; Bennett Paster – piano; Tony Jefferson – drums)
Paul Baudry has become a formidable presence in the jazz scene. He has worked with a vast array of artists, including Clark Terry, Grady Tate, Steve Turre, Cecil Bridgewater, Eddie Henderson, Roy Hargrove and Jimmy Cobb. After migrating to New York from San Francisco, he formed Paul Beaudry & Pathways in 2010. The group was sponsored by Jazz At Lincoln Center and The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs as a jazz ambassador to the world. Beaudry has played in 25 different countries and is on the faculty at the Teacher’s College at Columbia University.
Paul Baudry & Pathways has united jazz with high resolution recording. Like Equinox and Confluence (two other label releases), Americas was recorded at the Osborne in Rye, New York. Finishing out this quartet is Tim Armacost (saxophone), Bennett Paster (piano) and Tony Jefferson (drums). Nine tracks of music explore the diverse textures of “Americas” music. The first song (“Maria”) emanates from Suriname and employs a jaunty rhythm with latin swing. Tim Armacost pays against the tight rhythm section with his saxophone before turning it over to Beaudry for a nimble solo. Paster kicks in with a chord driven run. “El Bananero” has a folk dance resonance as the quartet show off some cohesive patterns.
There is a fair amount of classical influence on “El Panuelo De Pepa” with precise tempo and tight arrangement. Bennett Paster mixes classical and jazz inflections in a tango-like breeziness that Armacost supplements with soprano saxophone. The quartet shifts to different styles that tap into the various cultures. On “D’ Leau” (a Haitian piece), the ensemble plays in a traditional jazz structure. Moving to Trinidad, “Every Time Ah Pass” delves into syncopated tempos and subtle pacing. Paster shines in a dynamic solo on the vintage 1908 Steinway (which has a graceful, elegant tonal quality), countered by the sophisticated drumming by Tony Jefferson. Most of the songs maintain a crisp pulse and reflect an organic framework that morphs into modern jazz. Paster contributes the lone original composition (“Harmonia Mundi”), which represents a stylistic transformation. An ethereal, flowing piano solo opens the number before the band joins in up tempo mode with percussive accompaniment.
Consistent with Soundkeeper technology, the album was recorded using a two-mic set up with a pair of Earthworks QTC-1 microphones. The recordings are made at 24/192 and can be converted to 24/96, they are in stereo without any overdubs, mixing or compression. In order to maintain balance, the musicians were moved around the stage, creating a live feel to the music. The overall sonic image is entirely different from most jazz albums—more open and realistic than with typical jazz sessions recorded with close mics, baffles, headphones and mixers. The album is available in a variety of formats. Americas is an engrossing, euphoric jazz album with topnotch audiophile credentials.
TrackList: Maria; Harmonia Mundi; El Bananero; O Que E Amor; El Panuelo De Pepa; D’ Leau; Every Time Ah Pass; Zamba Alegre; Nicaragua Nicaraguita
This is a winning foray into soul jazz.