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Patrick Williams Home Suite Home press release

When it comes to big band composers and arrangers, there are go-to guys and then there is Patrick Williams. “Pat’s the best in the business,” says veteran recording and mixing engineer Al Schmitt. “I don’t think there’s anybody better. So when he calls, I always come. I love working with him. He’s the first guy I think of when someone says, ‘I want to do an album.’”

When that album is his own, Williams’ stellar reputation is so unassailable that he virtually has his pick of collaborators. For Home Suite Home (BFM Jazz, Sept. 25, 2015), his stunning new big band project, Williams called upon such renowned vocalists as Patti Austin, Frank Sinatra Jr. (whose dad recruited Williams on more than one occasion) and Tierney Sutton, and A-list musicians including trumpeter Arturo Sandoval, saxophonist Tom Scott, pianist Dave Grusin and drummer Peter Erskine. Each participant was thrilled to be part of the project. Says Erskine, “It’s historic. This is one of those great record dates that we’re all going to look back on fondly and think, this was really special.” Adds Scott, “It’s always wonderful to play big band music with this caliber of writing and arranging. Pat Williams represents the very best in the world -- in fact in the entire universe.”

Home Suite Home is Williams’ “most ambitious, and certainly his most personal, musical project yet,” wrote International Musician, “and that’s really saying something.” Indeed. During his multi-decade career, having composed music for more than 65 feature films, 100 television films and 25 television series, for which he has been awarded four Emmy awards and two Grammy awards (with 19 nominations in all), Williams’ name has become synonymous with the highest of quality. He’s even been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, for composing the orchestral work An American Concerto.

Recorded at Capitol Records’ Studio A in Los Angeles in late March 2015, Home Suite Home had its genesis when Williams drew musical portraits of his three children: Elizabeth (“the beautiful scientist”), Greer (“the dreamer”) and Patrick B. (“the real deal”). “That was ambitious enough,” writes Jon Burlingame in the album’s liner notes. “He then took it a step farther, profiling Catherine, his wife of 53 years, with a musical reminiscence of their dating years back when they were at Duke University and he was playing trumpet and leading the college big band.”

Having planted the seeds of half an album, Williams decided to keep going, working up tributes to two of his favorite artists -- arranger-composer Neal Hefti during his tenure with the Count Basie band, and renowned drummer Buddy Rich, and two new original songs: “52nd and Broadway,” which pays tribute to New York's fabled Roseland ballroom, where so many great bands played, and what Burlingame describes as “a brash, Sinatra-esque song” titled “I've Been Around.”

Putting the music and the artists together was the fun part, “a party, with plenty of hugs and laughter,” writes Burlingame. Home Suite Home begins with the full-on swing of the aforementioned “52nd and Broadway,” featuring Austin’s incendiary vocal scatting. The three-part “Home Suite Home,” each section dedicated to one of Williams’ children, is next. The music surveys a gamut of emotions and moods, tempos and textures, from elated to reflective, more than 20 minutes in all, with nary a note wasted. Throughout, the band is locked into sync as if sharing a single mind, and each soloist shines -- it’s truly breathtaking. 

Says lyricist Arthur Hamilton, “I can hear the full band when they’re playing but Pat can hear every instrument. That’s what’s brought him such great respect. Giants whose own names are legendary respect Pat.”

Home Suite Home continues with “A Hefti Dose of Basie (to the Memory of Neal Hefti),” one of the two Williams-penned tributes, then “I’ve Been Around,” a classic, electrifying vocal duet featuring Frank Sinatra Jr. and Tierney Sutton. “Blue Mist (for Catherine),” more than 10 minutes that traverse several aural landscapes, is perhaps the album’s lushest and meditative work, then Williams and company bring Home Suite Home to a raucous conclusion with “That’s Rich (for Buddy).” 

“Needless to say,” writes Burlingame, “this album swings…but it’s also richly complex, warmly melodic, lightly bluesy, fascinatingly intricate and just plain fun. During the recording sessions at Capitol,” he adds, “there was applause in the booth after practically every playback. No surprise. We were witnessing a rare combination of inspiration, craftsmanship and just plain joy in music-making -- qualities that define Patrick Williams and the extraordinary musicians you'll hear on this album.”

 

 

Preview Tracks

04_Home_Suite_Home_III._Patrick_B._The_Real_Deal.mp3

1.52nd Broadway feat. Patti Austin

2.Home Suite Home I. Elizabeth The Beautiful Scientist

3.Home Suite Home II. Greer The Dreamer

5.A Hefti Dose of Basie to the Memory Neal Hefti

6.I've Been Around feat. Frank Sinatra Jr. Tierney Sutton

7.Blue Mist For Catherine

8. That's Rich For Buddy