Originally from Buffalo, but stationed in New York City since 1979, the drummer and composer Bobby Previte is a man of few notes. Take “Deep Lake,” the opening track off Previte’s new Pan Atlantic, for example: smack in the middle of the longish tune (“Deep Lake” runs just over ten minutes), Previte lays out for about four minutes. In Previte’s absence, bassist Nils Davidsen plays a single pitch, F, over and over again, while Fender Rhodist Benoit Delbecq plays a few spooky notes here and there. The horns (saxist Wolfgang Puschnig, trombonist Gianluca Petrella) chime in a couple of times, with a three-note line.
Less in-your-face than some of Previte’s other music (the Bump and Coalition of the Willing projects come to mind), the tunes on Pan Atlantic require a considerable amount of patience on the listener’s end. But if one can commit, the results are rewarding, and quietly thrilling. Like “Deep Lake,” the menacing “Destruction Layer” is slow, and offers little in the way of flash or technical heroics (but one does get an eerie free-improv section for just trombone and sax, and a lazy, meandering-on-purpose bass solo). “Veltin,” the final track here, is nearly nine minutes of unaccompanied Rhodes. No bass, no horns, NO DRUMS!
Pan Atlantic is about mood, and atmosphere, and SPACE. And RESTRAINT. If you were hoping for surf rock, or a funky good time, look elsewhere.