The front line players of Dayna Stephens and Mike Olmos take the Shulman songs and pour heart and soul into them with excellent playing. Dayna Stephens on tenor, has a warm soulful feel that can flow with smooth abandon and turns gritty as emotional intensity builds. The trumpeter Mike Olmos is a technician who can play with finesse and tonal charm, on every break - a striking attack, whether on an upbeat swinging tune like "Take Notice" the ballad "Spring" or the strong title track "Patterns Of Change" his playing is a high light.
Adam Shulman’s compositions are finely crafted, they flow smoothly and they blend. There is nothing out of place as each song fits together to make a complete cohesive album. The first song "When I Dream" starts out with a slow tempo, long drawn out phrases that gradually build in excitement to come full circle with the song ending as it began. The next track "Not There Yet" has a similar feeling to the previous tune. The strong feature on this tune is the tenor saxophone playing of Dayna Stephens. The song also features a fine piano solo by Shulman, followed by some serious rhythmic dynamics set of by the rock solid drumming of Jon Arkin.
The composition "Chopinesque" is classical by name only, this is a west coast ballad that features the col arco bass playing of John Wiitala. There is a somber section to the tune, short and sad, but Adam Shulman pulls it up with a flurry of notes that sound ever so sweet. The front line horns take over for the finale with Dayna Stephens offering up a gentle serenade before passing the song to bassist Wiitala who takes the lead in the charge to end.
Patterns Of Change by the Adam Shulman Quintet is a contemporary jazz album that made it to my list of top CD’s for 2009, a pleasure to listen to.