Notes With Attachments
Man From Molise
Off The Cuff
After decades of lending clutch support to everyone from D’Angelo to The Who, ace session bassist Pino Palladino makes his long-awaited debut on Notes With Attachments. The main attachment, enough to share cover billing, is Grammy-winning producer and multi-instrumentalist Blake Mills, who encountered Palladino and drummer Chris Dave (also of D’Angelo’s orbit) while working on John Legend’s 2016 album Darkness and Light. Collaborative seeds were sown, and the result is this highly inventive program of instrumentals, steeped in abstract hip-hop beats, leftfield sonics, clustery jazz harmony, and subtle compositional detailing.
Palladino’s effortless bass steers but never dominates the set. Mills weighs in on everything from baritone guitar to berimbau, from tres to ngoni, keeping the timbres ever-changing. Chris Dave’s groove aesthetic is central enough to get an entire track named after him. But there’s also Senegalese percussion from Ben Aylon (on “Chris Dave” and “Man From Molise”), dollops of Andrew Bird’s violin on the Afrobeat-inspired “Ekuté,” and crafty organ, mellotron, and synth work from jazz great Larry Goldings on half the album as well. In terms of melody, texture, harmony, and counterpoint, the saxophonists are also essential: Sam Gendel cuts through on nearly every track, while guests Jacques Schwarz-Bart (on “Soundwalk”) and Marcus Strickland (on “Ekuté,” playing mainly bass clarinet) enhance the music’s dark and hazy lyricism.