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Origami by Paul Serrato

Pianist and composer Paul Serrato is an impassioned and blithe spirit who is dancing with fervor into his sixth decade, rich with a backlog of unrecorded music and a lifetime of rich experiences. He has lived fully as an artist and human being. His saga includes running with the bulls in Spain, writing for off Broadway shows, being an educator fully engaged with his students and working as a Jazz artist in the heart of the beast- New York City. His music reflects the diversity of his life, experiences and his ebullient spirit.

He is an independent artist and his latest recording "Origami"(on CD BABY) is his 4th release of mostly original music. He is a practical soul who organizes his projects around the talents and energies of the musicians who work with him regularly, welcoming their input, including them as a part of the compositional process, showcasing them and drawing on their strengths. Bassist Bryce Sebastien has been an ongoing member of the ensemble. For this project he suggested trumpeter Reggie Pittman, who is Sebastien’s band mate in the "The Ellington Band". Also new is Drummer Kevin Twigg who also works with David Amran. Another Serrato alumnus, Percussionist Henry Morales, graces these sessions with his clear strong sound. Missing from the ensemble is Serrato’s musical soul mate percussionist Julio Feliciano, who died unexpectedly after completing Serrato’s last project "More Than Red", although his spirit and inspiration is still informing Serrato’s work.

Paul Serrato has so many wide ranging experiences, influences and talents that the first hurdle in any project would be to decide on what to leave out and which of his many directions to pursue. On "Origami" he seems to have simplified, relaxed and gone for the groove, beauty and a really good time. He cites Jazz legend Mary Lou Williams as an influence and you can hear it in his lush style that is simple in its rich complexity. Like many artists do in their development, he seems to be paring away the inessential and going for the essence.

The tune "Origami" was inspired by Paul’s many Asian students he works with as a music educator. One of them showed him the "Cherry Blossom Scale", a pentatonic that he used as a compositional device. "Who are You" was a tune composed 25 years ago for an off Broadway show and features the Flugelhorn of Reggie Pittman. The funky "Groove Move" has been getting a lot of radio play anchored by the fat bass of Bryce Sebastien. "Corona Carlos" is a 6/4 blues - inspired by Horace Silver’s comic song titles and funky style (a la Filthy McNasty) and features a lighthearted vocal by Serrato.

The one cover is Miles Davis’ "Solar" done as a Bomba - a rhythm suggested by the late Julio Feliciano and featuring Henry Morales on Congas. The unusual "Open 24 hours" was also originally arranged in conjunction with Feliciano and was inspired by the many New York establishments that never close, a metaphor for the creativity and "Ganas" that Paul Serrato exemplifies. Renowned Gospel Singer and long time friend L.D. Frazier is featured in "I’m Starting Over" a tune that Serrato wrote for him 20 years ago which was originally performed at St Peter’s Church in New York as part of the Jazz Vespers. It is moving and swings with a big heart.

Serrato believes that in the Art of Jazz each musician tells his personal story. He has a passion for the process and a joy in the discovery of the new places that arise when one commits to the piercing honesty of the creative process. In the art of Origami, a benign unformed piece of paper is folded and molded into a beautiful albeit fragile reflection of nature. So Paul Serrato takes the raw material of his life’s journey and tells his story that is growing more joyful and richer with time.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Paul Serrato
  • CD Title: Origami
  • Genre: Latin Jazz / Latin Funk
  • Year Released: 2004
  • Record Label: Graffiti Productions
  • Rating: Five Stars
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