Monday, October 24, 2011

CD Review: “Ballads…Searching for peace” by Michael Pedicin


                                        Ballads. Searching For Peace.

There is a power in beauty, calm moments, elegance. And that is what you will find on this, Michael Pedicin’s tenth disc as a leader. You’ll also find a mastering of the tenor saxophone and a dedication to conveying and creating an emotional mood that is rarely found in the day of ‘soft jazz’.

Ballads. Searching For Peace is seven beautifully rendered tunes, four classic and  timeless numbers; plus two of guitarist John Valentino’s and an original by Pedicin that are destined to become so.

Pedicin tells us that the inspiration for the album is John Coltrane’s 1962 masterpiece Ballads, which in and of itself tells us something about the confidence that Pedicin has in his ability.

True to the spirit of that muse, you’ll find Don Raye and Gene De Paul’s You Don’t Know What Love Is, a song that has a history as crazy as it is beautiful. Written for the 1941 film starring Abbott & Costelo, Keep ‘em Flying, it was eventually cut from the flick. It eventually ended up in Behind the Eight Ball (1942), starring the Ritz Brothers. From its beginnings as an outtake in an A picture and an introduction in a B, both by the same singer, no one could have predicted that in later years the song would emerge as a masterpiece--a jazz standard to be recorded several hundreds of times, starting when Miles Davis and other jazz musicians. And there is a reason. It is simply a marvelous tune. Pedicin opens and closes with some beautiful ornamental free rhythmic styling's that display his virtuosity on his instrument and sets the mood for you, and the album.

Michael Pedicin “You Don’t Know What Love Is”

Next up is guitarist John Valentino’s  Blame It On Your Heart. Fittingly, Valentino plays guitar throughout the album. This is a ballad that will make you want to light some candles, turn the electric lights off, mix your favorite adult beverage and put your arm around that certain someone and watch a sunset.  Next up is hard bop sax player, Hank Mobley’s Home At Last. Mobley’s tone on the sax was never known for it’s aggressiveness, called by Leonard Feather, The Middle Weight Champion of the Tenor Sax, because he fit somewhere between Stan Getz mellowness and Coltrane’s heavy hitting style. The tune is pure silk.

Next up is the other Valentino number represented here, Few Moments which shows Valentino to be as good a composer as he is a guitarist. Virgo is a Wayne Shorter piece that I have always loved. It’s from one of Shorter’s first recordings as a front man for Blue Note in 1964. It’s a rich,  eloquent and gorgeous ballad whose notes convey a soulful beauty and Pedicin performs it true to the original.

Next is Pedicin’s own composition, Tell Me which in it’s title alone alludes to Pedicin’s other line of work. You see, he is also a psychologist. He certainly understand what searching for peace means and he chose here to make the albums title the last tune. It was written by McCoy Tyner it’s a gorgeous ballad and brings the album to a close. But, thanks to the magic of technology, you don’t have to get up and flip the album over to keep the mood alive. Just hit repeat before you light those candles.

M Pedicin images

Michael Pedicin is currently supporting the album release with a tour, check his website for dates.


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Copyright © 2011 Robert Carraher All Rights Reserved

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