Home on Richmond
Saxophonist Pat Mallinger is a man in a hurry. As heard on his live quartet recording, Home on Richmond, there’s always another note around the corner, another phrase he’s just itching to play or invent.
On the opening “Third Floor Richard” by Charles Lloyd, the rhythm section keep the proceedings grounded while Mallinger goes exploring beyond the melody, never satisfied with one note where a cluster can do. Example two is the follow-up, a 14-minute version of Charlie Chaplin’s classic “Smile.” The tune opens with a one-minute drum solo by George Fludas before Mallinger hurriedly quotes the theme twice; then he disappears for the next seven minutes. Pianist Bill Carrothers takes the spotlight, and bassist Dennis Carroll gets his solo licks in, as well. Mallinger eventually re-enters with honks and runs, propelled by the insistent rhythms of Fludas and Carroll, before abruptly dropping back into the melody. A few more honks and squeals and a closing quote from “On a Clear Day,” and the audience erupts in applause.
The title track, a Mallinger original, is certainly more relaxed than what’s come before, Mallinger’s runs notwithstanding. The rhythm section at least maintain a slow burn, while Mallinger gets hot and heavy in the upper register.
These first three numbers alone would be worth the price of admission. But the session, recorded last March at Chicago’s venerable Green Mill Jazz Club, also includes the balladic “Snowbound” by Carrothers, again displaying the band’s dexterity and sense of discovery; John Coltrane’s exotic “Living Space”; and a full-speed version of the standard “Nagasaki,” which closes the disc on an energetic note. Like the rest, it serves as a jumping-off point for the adventurous Mallinger and crew, with thoroughly enjoyable results.
— Ross Boissoneau