All Around Us is Brian Patneaude’s ode to everyday inspiration. His tunes tell stories of experiences as diverse as his recent engagement, childhood memories, and even a brush with dental surgery. Of the eight compositions presented on the album, all but two are Patneaude originals. The Albany saxophonist’s compositional and improvisational tendencies are evocative of Chris Potter, Michael Brecker, Mark Turner and Joshua Redman.
“Double Trio” seems to be inspired by Redman’s own double trio, and is specifically reminiscent of his tune “Insomnomaniac.” The driving hi-hat propels the open texture produced by the interlocking tenor and piano. The tone produced by the sum of Patneaude and pianist David Caldwell-Mason is a staple of the album and is especially sublime on “Too Vast for Malice,” a decidedly Brecker-esque Latin groove.
In the inset of the CD case, there are little stories that go along with each piece, and the Wayne Shorter composition “JuJu” has an anecdote crediting friend and former bandmate George Muscatello with turning Patneaude on to Wayne Shorter’s genius. Both covers are original in their own way, though, and are by no means uninspired read-throughs of classic tunes. In fact, Patneaude’s take on Wayne Shorter’s “JuJu” is a stark contrast from the original. Unlike the version that features McCoy Tyner’s rumbling piano, Patneaude instead starts this number with just his burly tenor sax, and the rhythm section enters quietly with Danny Whelchel caressing the cymbals, and just a mild electric tremolo from Caldwell-Mason.
The album cover sticks to Patneaude’s habit of featuring a photograph and sparse text. The photo shows eight blurred humanoid figures. Patneaude says that “inspiration is all around us every day, even though sometimes we don’t realize it.”