AS IT SHOULD BE: BALLADS 2
WHEN: May 12, 8 – 11 PM; 2 sets: 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.
WHERE: Trumpets, 6 Depot Square, MOntclair
ADMISSION: $20 pp music charge $12 pp minimum (food/drink)
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With the April 21 release of As It Should Be – Ballads 2, tenor and soprano saxophonist Michael Pedicin continues to spread the message of acceptance and justice he eloquently shared on his critically acclaimed 2011 album Ballads … searching for peace. “I’m one of those diehard ’60s kids that grew up concerned about peace and togetherness,” Pedicin explains. “I think about that every day of my life. We’re all one.”
In addition to covers of John Coltrane’s “Crescent” and Paul Simon’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” the album, his 14th as a leader, features eight ballads by longtime collaborator guitarist Johnnie Valentino. Pedicin and Valentino are joined on the recording by Frank Strauss on keyboards, bassist Mike Boone, drummer Justin Faulkner (of Branford Marsalis’s band), and percussionist Alex Acuña. With the exception of Acuña, all are either from, still live in, or have roots in Philadelphia.
Ballads showcasing the exquisitely lyrical aspects of Pedicin’s playing are the focus of the album, but several songs were treated to somewhat brighter grooves than had been originally intended after the musicians got to the recording studio, particularly “From Afar,” which was double-timed at a bossa-nova-like clip by Faulkner and Acuña.
Pedicin also continued his non-musical education, earning a Ph.D in Psychology from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine/International University for Graduate Studies in 2002. The shingle above his office in Linwood, NJ, reads “Dr. Michael Pedicino” as he recently changed his last name back to the one immigration gave his grandfather in 1906 when he arrived at Ellis Island from Foggia, Italy. While he has no plans to change his name in the world of music, he is in the process of obtaining dual American-Italian citizenship.
The new album is just the latest chapter in this master musician’s ongoing quest to help make Philadelphia’s sobriquet as the City of Brotherly Love a reality for human beings of all races, ethnicities, and nationalities through sweet melodies and gentle improvisations. “My goal with this CD,” Pedicin explains, “was to create some pretty and accessible jazz in ballad form. This is not about revolutionizing the art form we so love, but providing a soft and relaxing platform on which to enjoy it.”
Michael Pedicin will celebrate the release of As It Should Be: Ballads 2 at the following engagements: 4/16 Smalls, NYC; 4/22 Exit Zero Jazz Festival, Cape May, NJ (for which Pedicin is Artist in Residence); 5/12 Trumpets, Montclair, NJ; and 5/13 Chris’ Jazz Café, Philadelphia. Personnel is the same as on the new CD, minus Alex Acuña and with drummer Anwar Marshall subbing for Justin Faulkner.