Artists are known to dedicate a song or two to loved ones. Musician, composer and arranger Patrick Williams takes the idea a step further – perhaps two steps. Home Suite Home (BFM Jazz, 2015) is a star-studded album, with several songs written for members of Williams’ family.
The orchestra consists of Dave Grusin, piano; Chuck Berghofer, bass; Peter Erskine, drums; Dean Parks, guitar; Dan Higgins and Jeff Driskill, alto saxophones; Bob Sheppard and Tom Scott, tenor saxophones; Gene Cipriano, baritone saxophone; Wayne Bergeron, Dan Fornero, Bob Summers and Michael Stever, trumpets; Charlie Loper, Andy Martin and Bob McChesney, trombones; Craig Cosnell, bass trombone; and Dan Grecco, percussion. Vocalists Patti Austin, Frank Sinatra Jr. and Tierney Sutton make appearances.
Austin joins the cast on “52nd and Broadway.” This is a lively, swinging tune. Austin sings with joy and verve, and injects a little scat. It’s a terrific show opener.
The suite is a series of three musical portraits of his children: “Home Suite Home I. Elizabeth (The Beautiful Scientist),” “Home Suite Home II. Greer (The Dreamer),” and “Home Suite Home III. Patrick B. (The Real Deal).” The third of these begins like an easygoing walk in the neighborhood. It soon shifts into a lively, big band piece, heavy on the brass. The main theme continues, but with more energy and sunshine. Stever and Scott take turns on point. The song shifts gears, and Erskine takes over during a call and response sequence with the horns. Another shift, and the mood is that of a joyride.
Sinatra and Sutton lead on the delightful “I’ve Been Around,” the former sounding very much like his father. After a song honoring Williams’ wife, “Blue Mist (for Catherine),” the set closes with “That’s Rich (for Buddy).” Of course, Erskine shines on this tribute to legendary jazz drummer Buddy Rich. It’s a high-energy piece that features solos by Higgins, Martin, Grusin and Scott.
All songs were composed and arranged by Williams, with lyrics by Gail Kantor (“52nd & Broadway”), and by Williams with Arthur Hamilton (“I’ve Been Around”).