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Artist: Mike Pachelli/ Mike Pachelli Group 
Label: Full Blast Records (indie)
Time: 10 tracks / 57:02
You’re walking down the street in, oh, let’s say Manhattan’s East Village, and suddenly you hear some good live music coming from a little club. You go inside and find you can’t leave, because this jazz quartet is just cookin’ and you know you’re gonna’ miss something really good if you step out the door. “Who are these guys?” you ask yourself, “and why haven’t I ever heard of them before?” That’s probably the same question you’ll be asking yourself the first time you hear The Mike Pachelli Group.

Pachelli is no stranger to the music scene, having released some ten projects with his group and as a solo artist, as well as a duet project (“Two of Us”) with his friend, mentor, and sometimes collaborator, Phil Keaggy. Pachelli keeps roots in the Christian music community (he’s recently partnered with Randy Stonehill to establish Stonechelli Productions) but has spread his musical branches far enough to have worked with everyone from Michael McDonald to the Frank Stallone Band. A musician who’s gained the respect of his peers in the music business, Mike Pachelli has created music for a variety of media (including film scores), has produced an instructional DVD, and has even written a book for the serious guitar student called “Modal Mastery for Guitar Improvisation.” The man knows what he’s doing.

Électricité is Pachelli’s most recent band project, and it’s an instrumental jazz lover’s delight. Électricité is French for ‘electricity,’ but you don’t need to be multilingual to feel the simmering energy pulsing from musician to musician on this live-in-the-studio session. Alongside the master guitarist is Dennis Harding on bass, Rich Russo on drums, and Andrew W. K. on piano. There’s no weak link in this chain as the four musicians weave in and through Pachelli’s compositions, expanding on themes and stretching out to explore musical boundaries in exquisite jams.  
Musically, this is closer to a Miles Davis quartet sound than to jazz/rock fusion or traditional swing. This is an album about playing good jazz, and since the songs are originals, don’t expect to hear improvisations on familiar melodies, but explorations of uncharted territories. “Martini Lounge,” for example, sets us up with a short riff, which the musicians improvise over – the tempo picks up dramatically a couple of minutes into the piece followed by some intricate soloing, then goes back to the original pace. Listen to the delightful walking bass line, and especially the interplay between the piano and guitar on the atmospheric  “Whatever Happened.”  Various styles of jazz are represented here, from the slow, bluesy “Blue Alligator Shoes,” which opens the album, to the engaging jazz-waltz, “Lake Geneva,” which closes it. The eight tracks in between give each of the players ample room to shine. 

On électricité, Mike Pachelli delivers some outstanding old-school jazz, pure and simple (though complex in execution), free of overdubbing and intrusive post-production effects. Some might argue for ‘cleaner’ production, but the effect here is very much that of a live band simply playing in a club somewhere, simply as it happened. Pachelli and his group manage some very tasty playing - a bit eclectic perhaps if you’re used to pop (or the dreaded pop/jazz), yet still accessible enough to be appreciated by anyone who has an ear for good music and a willingness to plug in to something different. Plug in to électricité

Bert Saraco 

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