Mario Pavone, bass; Thomas Chapin, alto sax, flute; Bill Ware, vibes; Peter Madsen, piano; Peter McEachern, trombone; Steve Johns, drums
"I take a different approach to the bass now—and I could use three lifetimes to catch up on my instrument—but my lines have never been like the guitar-styled bass of today. My influences are Albert Stinson, Malachi Favors, Henry Grimes, Charlie Haden, Fred Hopkins. And Mingus, of course, bass-wise but also for his interest in colors, openness and sudden shifts."
"I think my compositions have a special sound because of my outside leanings, but my bottoms have always been rooted in the tradition and groove-oriented. My tops are angular. I pay attention to rhythmic detail so it's not 4/4 all the time. I like to switch it up."
Pavone (like most jazz composers, though Ellington is typically credited with starting the practice) always thinks of specific players for the parts he charts. "I'm most interested in writing music for musicians whose sounds attract me," he explains, "in getting commitments from them to work with me exclusively for a couple of weeks in rehearsing, and then going out to play a half-dozen gigs throughout the Northeast. I like to get everyone in the same spiritual place. It's hard for me to believe great music can be made without that human connection." As a result, his septet displays a unanimity of purpose that bespeaks its members' close association and mutual sensibility.
"I'm trying to make albums of interest and lasting value," he says. "I love performing, but I love recording and the crafting of every detail even more. I think that kind of care brings people closer to understanding the music, especially mine, coming as it does from the avant-garde. I'm trying to make my music accessible, but not abandon what jazz players do in the real world.
"I'm trying to compose for straight, strong playing," concludes Mario Pavone, "but I'm not making music about a period or a scene that's over and done with, so we know what it was and wasn't. My music is about right now."