Very good effort focusing on his blues and jazz roots.
email@example.com | 10/21/1998
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a very good effort by the sometimes brilliant Mark Whitfield. He has the unfortunate situation of being the supposed heir to George Benson and has already been forced to put out some lame material on the self-titled "Mark Whitfield". This session finds him playing it straight for the most part with an emphasis on the blues. The liner notes make mention that Wynton Marsalis recommended he concentrate more on what he's playing rather than how he's playing it. This was sound advice as the "Marksman", Whitfield's debut, featured too much overplaying. The personnel of Kenny Barron, Alvin Batiste, Ron Carter, Jack DeJohnette, and Manolo Badrena adds credibility to the recording before you even start listening. Fortunately, the personnel lives up to the expectations of the listener. "Go Down Moses" is a good blues tune that finds Whitfield adding more space to his melody and solo. He sounds a lot like Kevin Eubanks on "Lady of the Day". Alvin Batiste's clarinet adds a nice flavor to the group's sound on "Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen". "Baby M's Blues" is a down-home blues played with the bottleneck sound. The vocals on "Patrice" are pleasant enough, as is Whitfield, but it seems out of place here. Whitfield puts in a fine solo performance on "Midnight Sun", but he is doesn't sound completely comfortable in this setting. "David's Theme" is the definitive Whitfield song on the album. He truly has his own sound and style and this performance is the best example of why you should pay attention to this musician. "Bee's Blues" is another fun romp led by Batiste's clarinet again. Whitfield plays a great solo on this tune. "Brother Jack" is the mandatory tribute to Wes, which every young guitarist seems to feel is necessary. "Trouble at the South Bend" is the most edgy tune here. The most interesting thing about it is the fusion-style head combined with the jazz feel. DeJohnette's drumming here is supreme and reminded me of how great he is. Oh yes, let us not forget the great support here from Ron Carter as well. The session closes out on another pretty, but slightly uncomfortable solo performance of "We'll Be Together Again". Perhaps I'm biased from listening to Joe Pass for so many years. Mark Whitfield continues the great jazz guitar tradition and if able to stay focused on jazz, will be a musician whom our children will study about."
Randall Brown | El Dorado Hills, CA United States | 06/29/2001
(2 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of Mark Whitfield's earlier albums. I became an instant fan of his when I saw him perform live with Jimmy Smith. His rendition of the old torch song "Midnight Sun" in this performance made me rush out to find it on one of his albums. It turns out it was on "Patrice". I subsequently found the recorded version, on acoustic guitar (rather than the electric acoustic used in the live performance) fell far short of the live performance. I'm tempted to write him and tell him to re-record it for a new album. The remainder of the album is fair to good. It's clear his expertise has improved since he recorded "Patrice""