Patrick Cornelius - alto saxophone, compositions
Michael Janisch - double bass
Johnathan Blake - drums
Nick Vayenas - valve trombone (4, 6, 9)
Mark Small - tenor saxophone (5)
Recorded January 22, 2009 at Bennett Studios, NJ
Mixed and Mastered by Tyler McDiarmid in New York
Produced by Tyler McDiarmid & Patrick Cornelius
Executive Producer - Michael Janisch
released November 8, 2010
ABOUT THE ALBUM
Over the past several years alto saxophonist Patrick Cornelius has emerged as a prominent new voice on the New York jazz scene. His debut WR release, Fierce, features an original take on the classic saxophone trio format with Johnathan Blake (drums) and Michael Janisch (double bass), as well as guests Nick Vayenas (trombone) and Mark Small (tenor saxophone).
Fierce features nine memorably inventive original compositions for this 'chordless ensemble', showcasing his talents as “a composer of dusky elegance” (JazzTimes), as well as a wild romp through imaginative musical playgrounds, dynamic interplay, blistering grooves and virtuosic intensity. “I wanted to create an album that reflects the giddy unbridled joy that I feel whenever I play,” Cornelius explains. “I also wanted to write music that fills up and rounds out the 'chordless ensemble'. In so many instances, saxophone trios or quartets without piano or guitar sound abstract and esoteric to many listeners. I wanted to write music for this particular instrumentation that is melodic and accessible without compromising the format’s inherent freedom. But most importantly,” the leader adds, “I wanted the make music that is fun to listen to.”
One listen to Fierce’s title track makes it clear why the jazz world’s top rising stars are eager to play with Patrick. He regularly performs with many of the brightest stars of his generation, including Lionel Loueke, Aaron Parks, Aaron Goldberg, Kendrick Scott, Gretchen Parlato, Gerald Clayton, Ari Hoenig and Ambrose Akinmusire. His bands can be regularly seen at such NYC venues as The Blue Note, Smalls, Iridium, Cornelia Street Cafe and The Jazz Gallery or while touring in the UK, Mainland Europe and Japan. He cut his teeth performing in his native San Antonio while still in high school before attending both The Berklee College and Manhattan School of Music on full scholarships for undergraduate and graduate studies.
"Cornelius offers some of the most melodic and thoughtful playing heard on a new release all year... a truly notable album."
"Passing Notes" 88.9 FM WDNA
"Cornelius' alto playing has a richness and humanity to it—it's a refreshing and lyrical sound that creates a warm and often mellow mood... a warm, inviting and often rather measured—thoughtful, considered and reflective—collection of lovely tunes."
All About Jazz
"Compositional smarts and a centered warmth in his attitude mark him out."
"The music and performances are inspiringly creative and the musicians are fully committed to the task of performing cohesively as a unit."
"Cornelius is articulate and plays the kind of improvisations the listener can follow all the way with ease while still enjoying the excitement of the sudden unexpected turn. It’s amazing how full this band sounds...In fact, it’s all down to the writing."
The Jazz Breakfast (UK)
"US altoist Patrick Cornelius calls this album 'the distillation of all the joy, hope, exhilaration, and wonder that music has brought to my life', and for sheer vitality and exuberance, its nine tracks are indeed hard to beat."
"The freshness, spontaneity and vitality of the session is immediately discernible to the listener. 'Fierce' simply bristles with intent. The music of chordless line ups is sometimes reckoned to be something of a challenge for both the musicians and the listener but in the case of Patrick Cornelius’ trio it’s one the players clearly relish and also one which the listener can positively enjoy."
The Jazz Mann
"The music moves from note to note with purpose and, as Cornelius desires, joyfully. It sounds relaxed, confident; Cornelius strolls through the melodies with style and grace…Cornelius’ compositions leave you in a good mood, which, I’m certain was his exact intention."
A Hand in the Act of Writing
"A confident, highly accomplished assertive musician with a strong take-no-prisoners sound."
"With 'Fierce', his second CD as a leader, Cornelius showcases imagination and composing skills to match his sax chops, he infuses 'Fierce' with texture built on a sense of adventure, a sense of fun, an abundance of accessible melody and a true band approach to the playing."
San Antonio Express
"The interplay of the rhythm section with the leader is impressive and Cornelius responds with solos that range far afield but never lose focus. He's got fire and grace, showing no need to compromise on his vision."
"Cornelius is articulate and plays the kind of improvisations the listener can follow all the way with ease while still enjoying the excitement of the sudden unexpected turn.. it’s amazing how full this band sounds, it’s all down to the writing."
The Jazz Breakfast
"Bold performances that are creative and, yes, occasionally fierce."
All About Jazz