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Patterns In Jazz (1956)

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Oscar Pettiford

Like the modern art that stormed the art world in the '50s, Patterns in Jazz is filled with bright, bold colors and identifiable patterns that camouflage how adventurous the work actually is. On the surface, the music is cool and laid-back, but close listening reveals the invention in Melle's compositions and arrangements of the standards "Moonlight in Vermont" and "Long Ago and Far Away." Part of the charm of Patterns in Jazz is the unusual instrumental balance of Melle's bari sax, Eddie Bert's trombone, Joe Cinderella's guitar, and Oscar Pettiford's bass. These low, throaty instruments sound surprisingly light and swinging. Compared to the two standards, Melle's original compositions are a little short on melody, but they give the musicians room to improvise, resulting in some dynamic music. Ultimately, Patterns in Jazz is cerebral music that swings -- it's entertaining, but stimulating. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine