Born in Southern California but now resident in Brooklyn, New York, Carras Paton has become a strong new voice on the Big Apple’s jazz scene. He has played alongside Bobby Rodriguez, been part of pit bands for theater productions of Kiss Me Kate and Bye Bye Birdie, and appearing as a leader at various New York venues including the Knitting Factory and Iridium. A multi-instrumentalist, he focuses on tenor and soprano saxophone for the debut disc by The Carras Paton Quartet, Fortune (CarrasJazz).
Backed by a strong band that includes Max Haymer on piano and electric piano; Ryan Berg on upright bass; and Shinnosuke Takahashi on drums, Paton displays himself to be a forceful, audacious player. The track opens with the burner title track with Paton making his presence felt immediately over Haymer’s shimmering electric keyboards.
Next up is January with a definite Coltrane feel with Haymer, at the beginning, evoking Tyner with his thunderous piano opening before Paton unleashes his fully-throated playing with the rhythm pushing the performance on. Berg’s bass-line kicks off Open, with Paton prancing on tenor as the tempo shifts down a bit as the band gets into a funky groove and Paton starts bearing down with his hard driving attack over a somewhat dreamy backing.
Aristotle is a lovely number on which Paton displays a clean tone on the soprano saxophone as he starts in a pensive mode before his playing becomes more insistent before Berg takes a solid solo with Paton taking it out in a more reflective manner. Takahashi kicks off Into the Deep, with a simple groove before Paton states the theme on tenor. While not cited as his main sax guys, Paton’s passionate playing is suggestive of the hard blues edge of such players as Oliver Lake and Hamiett Bluett. His charged, extroverted style mixed with his fertile musical mind and a strong band makes his debut quite noteworthy, and explains why he is getting in demand as a leader.
His website is www.carraspaton.com, and as he is only 25, one can expect to hear much more about him in the future.
This review originally appeared in the January 15-March 1, 2010 Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 323). I received my review copy from a publicist.