Bass player Dewayne Pate is ‘On The Upside’

Bass player Dewayne Pate is so busy working as a sideman that it has taken him fourteen years and a pandemic lockdown to find the time to record his second album as a leader. On The Upside comprises funk, blues, and fusion jazz tunes performed with a variety of instrumentations. Besides being an in-demand bass player, Pate is also an accomplished composer and included five of his original compositions.

It is an original that opens the album. ‘4 The 5 Of It’ features Norbert Satchel on soprano sax with crisp drumming from Dennis Chambers and well placed piano lines from Peter Horvath. A good opening number. ‘Iceman’ takes us into blues territory with Ray Obiedo on guitar and vocals from Tony Lindsay. There is a good tenor sax break from Satchel with backing from Joel Behrman on trumpet and Brian Collier on drums. This is followed by the ballad ‘Ellen’ with Stef burns on guitar. Another blues style number that comes across well.

Saxophonist Oliver Nelson inspired the more contemporary sounding jazz track ‘Oliver’s Twist’. Norbert Satchel plays tenor alongside David Kirk Mathews on keyboard and they produce a nice contrasting tonal colouration. There is an extended bass solo from Dewayne Pate played in a loping style that gives space for the notes to develop. This is the longest track on the album but it does not outstay its welcome due to the variations within the tune that kept me engaged throughout.

‘Imperial Strut’ was written by Russell Ferrante of the Yellowjackets and it opens with Norbert Satchel on the flute playing against a well-played rhythmic pattern from drummer David Garibaldi. Michael Spiro adds percussion to the mix which, along with the piano section from David Kirk Mathews adds texture and depth to the tune. The switch in to African style music, with great guitar playing from Robben Ford, was unexpected but didn’t jar and made for an interesting track that needs to be heard again to appreciate the composition and arrangement. The tempo drops right off with the Amikaeyla Gaston vocal led cover of ‘Smile’. The singing is beautiful, as are the B3 organ playing of David Kirk Mathews and guitar lines of Jim Nichols.

‘Blues Ala Monmouth’ is another Pate original and as one might expect from the tune’s title we are back in blues territory. The rhythm section with Kevin Hayes on drums, Dave Mathews on organ, and Robben Ford on guitar is on very good form. Johnnie Bamont plays sax on this number with Joel Behrman adding his trumpet sound to the mix. This is a great, well balanced toe-tapping number and one of the album’s standout numbers.

‘On The Upside, the title track, is another original opens as an angular funk driven number with more very enjoyable sax playing from Norbert Satchel. David Kirk Matthews tempers the sound with his keyboard tones but the drumming of Dennis Chambers keeps thing ticking over. This is a good multi-layered tune that blends very well and highlights Dewayne’s compositional skills.

On The Upside finishes with Curtis Mayfields ‘People Get Ready’ with Pate’s melodic bass playing pared with Amikaeyla Gaston’s soulful vocals and the subtle conga playing of Karl Perazzo. The vocals are terrific and Gaston uses her range to very good effect. The accompanying playing is pitched just right and the resulting output finishes the album off very nicely indeed.

From jazz to fusion to Latin to funk to the blues, Dewayne Pate’s superb musicianship has been an essential component of so many different recordings and live performances that audiences may not have realized just how accomplished and versatile he is. On The Upside is a musically rich, formidable introduction to Pate’s talents as a composer and performer.

Album press release from Mouthpiece Music

There is not much to argue with there and hope the album does well on its 3rd March release.

Musicians: Dewayne Pate – bass; David Kirk Mathews – synths (1), B3 organ (2, 6), piano (3, 5), keys (4, 5, 8), organ (7); Peter Horvath – piano (1); Frank Martin – synths (1, 3), rhodes (3); Robben Ford – guitar (5, 7); Ray Obiedo – guitar (1, 2); Chris Cain – guitar (2); Stef Burns – guitar (3); Jim Nichols – guitar (6); Barry Finnerty – guitar (8); Joel Behrman – trumpet (2, 7); Norbert Stachel – soprano sax (1), tenor sax (2, 4, 8), flute (5); Johnnie Bamont – tenor & baritone saxophones (2, 7); Rita Thies – flute (3); Mike Olmos – trumpet & flugelhorn (3); Marc Russo – alto sax (7); Dennis Chambers – drums (4, 8); Brian Collier – drums (2); David Garibaldi – drums (5); Jason Lewis – drums (3, 6); Kevin Hayes – drums (7); Michael Spiro – percussion (5); Karl Perazzo – percussion (9); Tony Lindsay – vocals (2); Juan Luis Perez (J. Ele) – vocals (5); Amikaeyla Gaston – vocals (6, 9)

Tracklist: 1. 4 The 5 Of It. 2. Iceman. 3. Ellen. 4. Oliver’s Twist. 5. Imperial Strut. 6. Smile. 7. Blues Ala Monmouth. 8. On The Upside. 9. People Get Ready.

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