Blue Vertical is to be the final recording by the legendary bassist and composer Mario Pavone, who passed on May 15, 2021. Though in the final stages of a 17-year battle with cancer, Pavone pushed throughout the past seven weeks to make sure this music would be a part of his recorded legacy. On March 25 and 26 2021 he gathered his Dialect Trio with Matt Mitchell and Tyshawn Sorey (an active group since 2014), and the addition of his longtime collaborator Dave Ballou on trumpet, to record the music that has become Blue Vertical. Blue Vertical is releasing simultaneously with the album Isabella (Clean Feed), both of which are dedicated to Mario’s granddaughter, Isabella Pavone, a 23-year-old mother of four who died tragically in June 2020.
“Mario Pavone’s jazz can possibly be heard two different ways: the rhythmic and harmonic grids of bebop and all that descends from it, and the cathartic tracing-in-air of free jazz.” —Ben Ratliff, New York Times
In the wonderful interview Mario Pavone Makes His Final Statement with journalist Kevin Whitehead, which was featured recently in Downbeat Magazine, Mario Pavone said:
“I’m just happy to get these two releases done. It took every bit of energy, and the music is what got me through. I’ve had a great life and I’m so appreciative of all the players who jumped in and generously contributed, from the heart. I’m grateful, happy, satisfied with my life, ready to move to this next cycle.”
The recording shows his partners in the Dialect Trio (Mitchell and Sorey) to be in their typical telepathic form, following Pavone into every nook and cranny of these compositions. Dave Ballou on trumpet (who also arranged all of this music for Pavone) adds another very welcome dimension to the overall sound. The way the trumpet melodies align with Mitchell’s right hand is stunning, and Ballou is clearly an equal member of a quartet and not the fourth wheel in a trio. The band plays with a sensitivity that is appropriate for the moment, but the recording is also joyous and celebratory. Mario Pavone has released 34 albums over the course of an almost 60-year career. Blue Vertical is the testament of life truly well-lived, and a beautiful final gift from an absolute master of this music.
Martin Johnson wrote a heartfelt and enlightening appreciation of Mario Pavone for NPR, which is well worth a read for additional background info. You can find the article HERE
A full bio, additional info, and media spanning Mario’s entire career are available at mariopavone.com
Mario Pavone / Dialect Trio +1 – Blue Vertical (OOYH 010)
3) Blue Poles
5) Philosophy Series
6) Blue Vertical
7) Good Treble
8) Legacy Stories
9) Face Music
Mario Pavone – bass, compositions
Dave Ballou – trumpet, arrangements
Matt Mitchell – piano
Tyshawn Sorey – drums
This album is dedicated to Isabella Pavone (November 12,1996 – June 10, 2020).
PromoJukeBox Out Of Your Head Records