"Home Suite Home" Patrick Williams - Review from Buffalo News
Patrick Williams, Home Suite Home (BFM Jazz). You’ve been hearing the music of Patrick Williams your entire life and almost certainly never known it. He is almost ubiquitous as a film and TV composer but his name is virtually unknown outside of jazz during those periods when he takes one heck of a busman’s holiday and turns out some jazz records. Let’s admit the more sniffish jazz listeners will take a look at the list trumpeted on the cover of this disc and get very suspicious: Patti Austin, Frank Sinatra Jr., Dave Grusin, Tom Scott and Arturo Sandoval. Two names that might indicate how beautiful his disc “Home Suite Home” is can allay a lot of fears: Tierney Sutton and Peter Erskine. Singer Sutton is too good to appear in pop jazz junk of any kind. And drummer Peter Erskine makes almost everyone sound better just by being there. What you’ve got here, then, is one of the great veteran coastal composer/arrangers getting personal and working with a big roster of players who have, literally, been with him for many decades – Grusin, Scott, Erskine, bassist Churck Berghoffer, saxophonist Dan Higgins. Williams has spent the past half-century as an indefatigable composer/arranger for film and TV – the one who wasn’t Quincy Jones or Henry Mancini or Mike Post or Oliver Nelson. He’s written music for such films as “Breaking Away,” and “Casey’s Shadow” and such TV shows as “Columbo,” “The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd,” “Lou Grant,” and “The Streets of San Francisco.” He’s a major reason why jazz is the sound of crime and smart alecky on television. Whenever possible, he makes jazz records to make himself happy. Which is what he no doubt is with this one where this master of his trade gets personal. He wrote pieces in honor of his wife and kids and also, along with it, honored and long-gone friends like composer/arranger Neil Hefti and drummer/holy terror Buddy Rich. Are you ready for a duet with Frank Sinatra Jr. and Tierney Sutton? If not, don’t worry. They are. His musicians are as good as they currently are on the West Coast. The sound of this band is so clean that it’s pristine. So is the record engineering. His compositions don’t begin to have the ambition of great jazz composer/arrangers like Gil Evans, Bob Brookmeyer, Oliver Nelson and Maria Schneider. When they’re played and recorded this well, they don’t really have to.
It’s the distillation of quintessential, high-gloss coastal jazz.