Patrick Cornelius : Book of Secrets Review
Book of Secrets: Patrick Cornelius’ Journey in Mastery and Mystery
Book of Secrets, the illustrious new album from the renowned composer and saxophonist Patrick Cornelius, is an entrancing mosaic of stories told through the art of sound. For those acquainted with Cornelius’s storied past – two decades of flourishing artistry in the heart of New York and accolades including multiple mentions as a “Rising Star” in DownBeat Magazine – this latest endeavor serves as an added expression of his evolving brilliance.
The ensemble supporting Cornelius is exquisite, reflecting both his past and present musings. These skilled collaborators – Behn Gillece (vibraphone), Art Hirahara (piano), Peter Slavov (bass), and Vinnie Sperrazza (drums) – provide a panoramic musical backdrop, elevating Cornelius’s evocative compositions and expressive soloing. Book of Secrets plays like an intricate dance of seasoned performers, where every step leads to the next, free-flowing, every movement familiar yet refreshingly new.
Upon our entrance into this captivating realm, “Legend Has It” introduces itself with the foundational resonance of Slavov’s bass and Hirahara’s piano, creating the enticing 5/4 rhythm groove. It’s here that Cornelius, with the gentle embrace of the soprano sax, weaves a story of sound, each note dripping with purpose. The track’s chemistry is palpable; Gillece’s vibraphone punctuations juxtaposed against Hirahara’s and Cornelius’s melodic dalliances craft a story of intrigue, all while never overshadowing or overpowering. The saxophonist’s solo, rich in texture and emotion, does not beg for attention but rather commands it, each note is necessary and sings of Cornelius’s restraint and mastery.
However, if one yearns for a potent distillation of Cornelius’s virtuosity, “Puzzle Box” graciously obliges. Here, Cornelius’s alto sax delivers a tour de force, setting the stage for the ensemble’s radiant contributions. The inclusion of Diego Rivera’s tenor sax is a serendipitous touch, a mellifluous pairing with Cornelius that evokes a sense of delightful urgency. Not to be overshadowed, Gillece and Hirahara’s solos are both a marvel, each note an exploration of the jazz blue’s vast emotional landscape. Slavov’s bass, grounding and methodical, creates a sanctuary of sound, while Sperrazza’s drum solo ties the track together with a gracefulness that is both understated and profound.
As the album unfolds, each track from “Archetype” to “Days End” is an expedition, guiding the listener through terrains of nostalgia, anticipation, wonder, and revelation. The blending of Cornelius’s multi-instrumental talents – from the alto saxophone to the clarinet to the alto flute – ensures that the album never wanes in its allure.
In summation, Book of Secrets adds to the outstanding journey of Cornelius’s legacy and the perennial beauty of jazz itself. It invites on a storied journey of musical discovery, providing a roadmap of sound that promises, with each listen, to reveal yet another layer of its deeply-felt secrets.
Book of Secrets
June 30, 2023