Veteran trumpeter/flugelhornist Michael “Patches” Stewart describes his latest musical antidote as being, “jazz for the new millennium”. Why not? He’s called upon his long time friend, musician and producer Marcus Miller to handle production duties on his hot new project titled “Blow”.  This is Patches third recording as a soloist. On “Blow” he opts to take the listener on a musical journey that contains the tasty flavorings of jazz, funk, with a twist of R&B and dipped into the pulsating grooves of Hip-Hop!


The Players: DJ Quik ~ beats, Roger Byam ~ tenor sax, Kenny Garrett ~ alto sax, Steve Baxter ~ trombone, Carl Cyrius ~ vocals, Poogie Bell ~ drums, Diane Gordon ~ funki-jazzi vocals, Donald Blackman ~ vocal ad libs, Tonni Smith ~ hi vocals, LeDon Bishop ~ vocals, Will Downing ~ vocals, MC Lyte ~ rap, James Walker ~ flute, Marcus Miller ~ percussion, clarinet, keys, guitars, organ, Fender Rhodes, clavinet, bass, acoustic bass, tenor sax, moog synthesizer, bg vocals, acoustic piano, scratches, soprano sax and Patches Stewart ~ trumpet, vocals, flugelhorn, Produced by Marcus Miller for Pork Pie Productions and Co-produced by David Isaac on Koch Records, © 2005


The Nawlins native teases with a taste of “Gumbo” (intro) on the opening track for about nineteen seconds and before you know it you’ll find your head boppin’ to title cut “Blow”. This infectious vibe has a twist of hip-hop penned by producer Marcus Miller, who actually starts the groove in motion. 


At the three spot, Patches and the crew steps out with “I Know What You Like”.  At a first glance, I thought I was listening the Parliament Funkadelic because the vibe taps into this throwback groove. This track contains some elements of songwriter Ron Temperton’sGive Me the Night” from George Benson’s album of the same title. Ironically, there are also hints of Sly and the Family Stone locked into this groove as well! How mercy!


There have been so many talented artists that have covered “Overjoyed” by Stevie Wonder. Patches and Miller reworks this classic by giving it an unusual twist of vibrant and colorful flavors that envelope’s you. Therefore, their effort makes this one of the most invigorating renditions of “Overjoyed” that I’ve heard to date. 


Miller pens the next tune called “We Be Gettin’ Down”. Never mind the Ebonics folks, this jam is strictly for the players and wannabes. Oh yeah, everyone is welcome to get into these seriously “nasty grooves” like no bodies business cause they do, what they do!


Mr. Stewart and company slows the pace with “Don’t You Know” featuring the one and only Will Downing. Now, you can imagine the purpose of this sonically infectious tune. Stewart blows some seriously sweet and soulful musings into his flugelhorn that slowly but surely resonates in the atmosphere with warm and sensuous stylings of late night jazz. 


Road Song” (written by John L. Montgomery) falls into the seventh spot on “Blow”.  Patches plays his trumpet on this trip but also features the incomparable Kenny Garrett on alto sax. Road Song is definitely one of the less urban sounding tracks on the disc and possibly giving radio the opportunity to say let’s add this track to rotation.


The sonically tight urban vibes on “Blow” continues with “Crusin”. Have no fear folks it’s not another cover of Smokey Robinson’s classic (love you Smokey). However, rapper MC Lyte adds more than an adequate dose of freshness to this groove. Crusin’ reminds me somewhat of Will Smith’s “Summertime”. MC Lyte charms you with the warmth of her linear phrasings as she serves up a hint of poetic freshness that calls for a little fun in the summertime kind of groove.


Miller pens another killer groove titled “Congo Square”.  This track features the trio of Stewart, Garrett and Miller. I really dig this track because there’s this funkiness about the vibe; it grabs and sticks to you with an adhesive that binds you to the groove. It’s got that straight to the blue light in basement kind of funk going on.


I love it when an artist takes a cover song and molds it to his or her musical personality.  This time it’s Herbie Hancock’sTell Me A Bedtime Story” that’s on the cutting board. I can see a lot of folks digging this tune; it’s one of the jazzier cuts on “Blow”.


The next track is titled “No More” that features Marcus Miller on all instruments except trumpet, which of course is Patches Stewart who handles his business with style. The melody is picture perfect and the hooks are attractive as well on this piece. The cd concludes with a forty plus second snippet “Gumbo”.


Patches and the crew stir’s up a delicious 12-song music set on “Blow”. This project seduces you by pulling you into the elements of these hooked laden and cosmic urbanized vibes that leaves you simply begging for more. Frankly, I love this cd! Why? Because it’s fresh, Stewart has a strong understanding of what’s happening musically within the urban communities around the globe. It’s a blessing to hear MichaelPatches” Stewart at this stage of his career; he’s exactly where he belongs, up close and personal, playing music that he loves to play. Producer Marcus Miller has done and eloquent job in the process of being creative and innovative. Therefore bridging the genre gap with tastefully addictive and accessible palette of music in one serving, which is a mighty difficult task to accomplish these days. The musicianship on this project is no doubt supreme, (take another look at the lineup). Artistically Patches Stewart is at the pinnacle of his game with “Blow”, he should get major spins from jazz and curious music aficionados everywhere.







q       Visit Stewart’s web space:


q       Purchase “Blow” at fine music stores everywhere (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, CD Universe)