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Bobby Previte

I think that Bobby Previte is one of the most underrated among great jazz artists. Although his music seems to be so innovative as - for example - work of Gary Thomas, Steve Coleman, Greg Osby and other M-BASE'ers thus his mother label Gramavision refused to issue his last recording due to it's too experimenttal.
My first meeting with Bobby Previte's music was CD included in 1994's February issue of monthly magazine called "JAZZ a go-go". This CD contained one premiere cut of his EMPTY SUITS band called "Waltz". At this time I became his great fan despite of rarely avalaible CDs with his music in Poland.
This CD contained one premiere cut of his EMPTY SUITS band called "Waltz". At this time I became his great fan despite of rarely avalaible CDs with his music in Poland.
BOBBY PREVITE was born in on 16th of July 1951 in Niagara Falls, NY, USA. Studied at the Buffalo University. In 1980 moved from Buffalo to New York. He's drummer and composer as well. Except jazz his intrests cover classical and film music (to Robert Altman's film "Shortcuts").

In 1990 he earned "talented musician" title in Annual Down Beat Critics Poll and in 1991 the title of "Hot Jazz Artist" of Rolling Stone magazine. His music cooperation is related to such artists as John Zorn, Wayne Horvitz, Elliot Sharp and Mark Helias.

Bobby Previte leads himself two different groups - electric and more weird EMPTY SUITS (with such musicians like Robin Eubanks, Steve Gaboury, Wayne Horvitz and Jerome Harris) and acoustic WEATHER CLEAR, TRACK FAST (with Don Byron, Anthony Cox, and others).
Oddly enough the Empty Suits name was taken from a letter to one of newspapers which was written by a man voting for Republicans all his life. When Dan Quayle was to become the vice-president he voted for Democrats saying that he wouldn't let "Empty Suits" people to lead the country. "Empty Suits" - due to nice suits and emty minds. Bobby Previte refers it to the world of Jazz too.

There's something charming about drummer Bobby Previte's musical excesses. The eccentricities, the complexities, and the high energy of his music never seem calculated or confrontational. His repertoire sounds like the honest expressions of a man who's never gotten over how much fun it is to make music. His two latest releases are as different as can be, but each finds him capering at the cutting edge. Mainly composed, 23 Constellations of Joan Miró (Tzadik) is a gorgeous programmatic suite of short pieces suggested by the paintings of the great Catalan Surrealist. Just Add Water (Palmetto), by his quintet, Bump the Renaissance, is a loose blowing session that's hustled along by an antic jazz-rock beat. Whether he's writing a complex, multilayered composition for chamber ensemble or madly charging along with his small-band jazz, the giddy pleasure Previte takes in the sensual details of the music is intoxicating and contagious.

He's always vacillated between controlled ensemble writing with integrated soloing and more loosely structured or even free settings. His Gramavision albums of the late '80s and early '90s reveled in quirky instrumentation, especially 1988's Claude's Late Morning. These funky minimalism-meets-jazz confections piled on thick layers of hooks and riffs that bobbed and collided over deep grooves, providing an asymmetric latticed foundation for the soloists. His writing for smaller groups like the Bump the Renaissance quintet balanced writing with improvisation, though he could never deny his arranger's urge for clever charts that got the most out of a few instruments. In more loosely structured groups like his organ-combo "bar band" Latin for Travelers, or free settings, like the funky West Coast collective quartet Ponga, Previte has shown a talent for propelling a band while orchestrating his own playing to fit each soloist.

23 Constellations of Joan Miró forms an audio analogue to the thin meandering lines that barely seem substantial enough to hold the boldly colored abstract images of animals, men, and women in Miró's little dramas. Scored for two trumpets, soprano sax, flute, bass clarinet, harp, keyboards and other electronics, accordion, percussion, and trap kit, the nearly two dozen short pieces (none is longer than three minutes) have a similar lightness that belies their strength. They are by turns dark and forbidding, translucently opalescent, whimsical, sexy, ambiguous, spiritual, and regal. Previte's melodies sometimes suggest figures -- like the sexy sway of the ensemble and the birdlike flute during "Woman and Birds." And just as Miró found endless possibilities in a limited visual vocabulary of line, primary colors, and simple shapes, Previte's resourceful orchestrations combine and recombine the playing of an octet of downtown New York City luminaries (including Ned Rothenberg, Jane Ira Bloom, Ralph Alessi, and Jamie Saft) to yield a constantly shifting variety of forms and feelings. It's the sort of music that reveals new details in its orchestration -- the eerie marimba, gongs, and harp on "Woman in the Night," or the ascending motifs played by the trumpets, vibes, and electronics on "Escape Ladder" -- with each new listen.

Just Add Water is just as life-affirming as Constellations, but in a totally different way. It's a joyful record that flows with such effortless good spirit that you might overlook Previte's deft compositional touches on tunes like "Everything I Want" and "Leave Here Now." Trombonist Ray Anderson is the band's live wire: his trombone whoops and hollers with an excess of happiness almost from the start of his solo on "Put Away Your Crayons," and he mutters and sputters through his horn like a tipsy Donald Duck on "53 Maserati." Tenor-saxophonist Marty Ehrlich is given to more deliberate development of his solos, but he's full of fire on this session, soloing with a muscular melodic logic and a full throaty sound on "Stingray." Electric-bassist Steve Swallow is the band's deadpan wit, with lines that slip away from you when you least expect it, only to return and groove solidly in the pocket. Keyboardist Wayne Horvitz is a self-effacing ensemble player, yet his comping is always exactly what's needed even though he's apt to take the road less traveled when it's time to solo.

And Previte buoys the band throughout -- on "53 Maserati" and "All Hail Kirby," his jazz-rock beat lifts the group to new heights. He roots out the bombast that makes so much fusion tedious, instead relying on the sheer pleasure of the groove, which he keeps flexible and pliant in a distinctly jazzy way. Despite its obvious formal differences with 23 Constellations, Just Add Water is nothing short of a joy ride, with Previte at the wheel and the tires barely touching the ground.

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