Patrick Prouty
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Patrick Prouty

Livonia, Michigan, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF | AFM

Livonia, Michigan, United States | SELF | AFM
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Jazz Classical


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"The Charmed Life"

Detroit bassist/composer Patrick Prouty is one of the more dynamic musical voices to emerge out of the Motor City in recent years. Having recently completed a lengthy tenure as a member of soul legend Bettye Lavette’s road band, the in-demand bassist has decided to focus on a more personalized musical vision. The Charmed Life, Prouty’s debut as a leader, is a muscular, straight-ahead release featuring pianist Phil Kelly, vibraphonist Rob Pipho and drummer Bill Higgins, Jr.

Prouty takes an unremitting approach to the bass. Whether walking, soloing or playing a melody, the bassist pours heart and soul into every note. While one can hear traces of Ray Brown (“Higgins’ Theme”), Scott LaFaro (“Waltzing with Jenny”) and Charlie Haden (“Remembering Section 403”), Prouty demonstrates a voice on the bass that is entirely unique and void of direct imitation.

Prouty’s band mates, all veterans of the Detroit jazz scene, create a flow of swinging consistency through intuitive listening and imaginative soloing. Kelly is a lyrical pianist who patiently elevates the intensity of each tune. He lends exquisite charm to the title track and the cascading “Champs-Elysees 1951.” Pipho demonstrates a modern, forward-looking approach with a firm understanding of tradition. The vibraphonist is featured prominently on the free-form “Rhythm Section” and the ultra-greasy “Lowell Fulsom Prison Blues.” Higgins propels the session tirelessly, prodding and poking to entice inspired results from each soloist. His dizzying drum romp on “South-West” is a disc highlight.

Through inspired performances and Prouty's well crafted compositions, The Charmed Life succeeds as an endearing introduction to a musician of unwavering conviction. -

"Local acts prove homegrown talent is still strong"

While the national stars get the lion’s share of the attention at the Detroit International Jazz Festival, the event remains a critical showcase for the local heroes that invigorate the Detroit scene 365 days a year.

So while the headliners later Saturday included saxophonist Sonny Fortune and festival artist-in-residence Christian McBride, a pair of satisfying sets early Saturday afternoon at Hart Plaza by vocalist Naima Shamborguer and bassist Pat Prouty’s Quartet opened the festival’s second day with a reminder of the jazz talent that lives next door. Now in its 29th year, the annual free festival takes place on six stages stretching from Hart Plaza to Cadillac Square and continues through Monday.

Jazz musicians are not by nature early risers, so performing at the noon hour has its challenges. Both Shamborguer and Prouty’s groups took a tune or two to wipe the sleep from their eyes. On the other hand, there is a pleasantly casual air to performing for just a few hundred listeners, especially under the beautifully sunny and breezy skies on Saturday. The music may not get as hot as later in the day, but the rapport with the audience can feel more familial.

Shamborguer, who sang at the Waterfront Stage, has a plush voice. While her pitch wasn’t as consistent as it usually is, she sounded especially expressive on the ballad “The Masquerade Is Over,” where her taffy-pull phrasing never obscured the poignant message of the tune. An easy swinging version of Benny Golson’s “Whisper Not,” outfitted with Leonard Feather’s lyric, gave the rhythm section -- pianist Sven Anderson, bassist Marion Hayden and drummer George Davidson -- chance to strike a groove. Hayden’s deftly melodic solo carved an interesting path through Golson’s restless harmonies.

(Incidentally, Golson, a tenor saxophonist and one of the defining composers of hard bop, will lead his own quartet Sunday and front the Temple University Big Band on Monday. A Philadelphian, Golson appears as part of the 2008 festival’s twin celebration of Philly and Detroit. )

Over at the Pyramid Stage, Prouty led his regular quartet with Rob Pipho on vibes, Phil Kelly on piano and Bill Higgins on drums. The entire set was devoted to Prouty’s inventive and diverse originals, most from his recent CD, “The Charmed Life.”

“Remembering Section 403,” named for a spot in old Tiger Stadium, was a lyrical, floating waltz with alluring harmony that recalled the mood of vibist Bobby Hutcherson’s “Littl B’s Poem,” an impression given weight by Phipho’s freshly conceived and technically assured solo. “Surf Ballroom” was a plaintive, richly detailed ballad in 5/4 that included no improvising and didn’t miss it. “Drive It Till It Dies” was built on a rockish vamp and acidic dissonances. Other tunes featured bluesy grooves and even some free improvising.

All four players sounded comfortable with the music and with each other, and if the time-feel among the four wasn’t as locked in as it might have been later in the day, the rough-and-ready performances had the gruff charm of a group putting its most original foot forward - Detroit Free Press


The Charmed Life--2007 Leedle Records
Tunnel And Bridge--2008 Leedle Records
Rustbelt--2010 Leedle Records
New American DayDream--2011 Leedle Records



Patrick Prouty is a bassist/composer from Detroit. From 2000 until 2007, he was the bassist for soul legend Bettye Lavette. During his tenure with Lavette he toured all over North America, Europe and Japan. Other side-man gigs have included playing with Bill Heid, Johnnie Bassett, Jan Krist, Al and Whit Hill, Alberta Adams and many other artists.

In October of 2007 Patrick released his first recording as a leader entitled The Charmed Life. It is a jazz quartet recording of all original Prouty compositions with an all-star cast of Detroit musicians. In 2008 The Charmed Life won the Detroit Music Award for Best Jazz Recording.

Patrick's song, The Charmed Life, was recently featured in the film, A Gun To The Head, from director Blaine Thurier and was also placed in AMC's, Rubicon. Another song, Remembering Section 403, was featured in the film, The Joneses, starring David Duchovny and Demi Moore. It was also placed in episode #409 of AMC's, Breaking Bad.

Patrick's CD, New American Daydream won the  Detroit Music Award for Outstanding Jazz Recording of 2012.

Band Members