Flowtilla – Just Passing Through (2017)

Len Paterson, the guitarist half of the groove-jazz duo Flowtilla, plainly described to me their brand new album Just Passing Through this way: “It is more on the rock side than our last two.” That’s a pretty accurate assessment, but there’s more to the music that Paterson and his partner on electric bass Ellen Schoenwetter make.

With Jan Jackson’s drums and Jon Otis’ occasional percussion to complete the sonic footprint, Flowtilla — as always — is light on its feet and the tight commingling of guitar and bass is at the heart of the Flowtilla sound. That part hasn’t changed a bit. Neither is their flair for crafting catchy little riffs into neatly packaged songs that have enough interesting changes to avoid boring repetitiveness. Still, Just Passing Through does more than before to reveal the broad range of musicians who have worked with Henry Kaiser, Green Day, Dewey Redman and Joe Bonamassa. Moreover they get the job done without fuss or overlong jamming usually inside of three or four minutes.

Across a span of nineteen new originals, that diversity is on full display. “Moanin’ Lemon” may have more in common with Creedence Clearwater Revival than James Brown, but it will still make your head nod. The backbeat on “Alacrity” might not be funky but it will make you wanna move all the same, and the breezy shuffle of “Santa Rita” (video above) is underscored by Paterson’s jazzy octaves, also heard on the Brazilian groove “Pathos.” “Bolero” is exactly as advertised, not too unlike Jeff Beck’s own bolero.

For those wanting to hear the steady groovin’ of those prior two discs Waves and Particles and Recalibration, “Plethora” will more than satisfy.

Just Passing Through embraces more styles (especially rock) but it’s still Flowtilla. Len Paterson and Ellen Schoenwetter have plenty of chops but never put that ahead of making you feel good and in the final analysis, this latest release is more of their feel-good music.

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. E-mail him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews .com or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SVictorAaron
S. Victor Aaron