It's not hard to find Brian Patneaude in the Albany, N.Y., music scene, because he seems to be literally everywhere: If he's not playing with a rotating cast of hot musicians during his weekly gig at the supper club Justin's, he's helping Alex Torres' Latin Jazz Orchestra serve up hot salsa and cool meringue… that is, unless he's holding down one of the reed chairs in the weapons-grade superband Keith Pray's Big Soul Ensemble.
Patneaude's in all these groups because he loves playing, but also because the other leaders know a good thing when they see it: His tenor sax travels the warm, color-splashed trail Michael Brecker blazed until his passing in 2007. And that sound has gone from Local to Global, thanks to the Brian Patneaude Quartet's three WEPA releases Variations, Distance, and As We Know It.
For his new disc, Riverview, Patneaude changed the formula by bringing in two new ingredients: Keyboardist Jesse Chandler has worked with Norah Jones, Jimmy Cobb, and David "Fathead" Newman (who Patneaude played with as part of the Empire Jazz Orchestra), while guitarist Mike Moreno has been stacking up acclaim from his World Culture Music debut Between the Lines, as well as from his collaborations with Aaron Parks and Kendrick Scott.
Brian Patneaude is ready for his close-up. Let's have a look, shall we?

You recorded your first three discs with your longtime quartet. Why the change in personnel for Riverview?
I've been a big fan of both Mike and Jesse's music for many years. Jesse and I got in touch when he moved back to the Woodstock area, and we did a bunch of gigs with Danny [Whelchel] and the other guys in my regular group this past spring and summer. Mike came upstate last winter to do a couple of gigs with my group, and we've kept in touch since then. When Jesse told me he was moving to Texas in October, I decided to organize a session to document the music we'd been making together. Luckily Mike's schedule allowed him to come up and join us, and the next thing I knew we had recorded an album's worth of material in one night!
The one holdover from your previous recordings is drummer Danny Whelchel. Talk a little about Danny as a drummer and musical collaborator.
Not only is Danny my favorite drummer, but he's one of my best friends. We've known each other for over ten years and have been playing music together pretty much since the day we met. He is one of the most sensitive and creative musicians I've ever had the pleasure of working with. His ears are always wide open, and I've never heard him play a song the same way twice. He's also brings a very positive vibe to the music and the bandstand. Of course, he's a New Orleans Saints fan, but nobody's perfect.
What do you look for in a band member? What do you want them to bring to the table, besides proficiency on their instrument?
I guess I look for someone who is creative and has their own voice, yet is open to input. While many of my tunes are fairly open to interpretation, with some songs I have a very distinct idea of what I'm looking for from each instrument. That said, I've been lucky enough to work with the same musicians in my band for many years now -- Danny, guitarist George Muscatello, and bassist Mike DelPrete -- and they've definitely helped shape the music in ways I could have never imagined. I've learned to trust their musicianship and welcome their input.
How did you and Jesse Chandler hook up?
MySpace, believe it or not. Prior to meeting Jesse, I had been a huge fan of his Somewhere: Between record on Fresh Sound New Talent. He got in touch with me via MySpace when he moved back to the states from Portugal, and we emailed back and forth until he was able to get a car and come up and play in Albany.
Mike Moreno's kind of the guitar player of the moment, between his own recording and his work with Aaron Parks on Aaron's disc Invisible Cinema. What's your take on Mike as a player, and when and where did you first hear him play?
I believe I first heard Mike on Somewhere: Between. Since then, I've made an effort to check out as many of the recordings that he's appeared on as possible. To my ears, he has a very distinct tone and approach to the guitar. It has been an incredible experience hearing him interpret my music.
You say you and Mike were introduced to each other through "a chance meeting." Can you talk about when and where that meeting happened, and how it came about?
I bought Mike's record directly from him through his website. We emailed back and forth a bit about the music, and I invited him to come up and play in Albany. It took a while to work out the logistics, but we were able to play a couple of shows in December of 2007, one of which was at my regular Sunday night gig at Justin's. We got hit with a huge snowstorm that night, but the club was packed and the gig was incredible.
Talk about the Riverview session, and about asking Mike to play on it.
The Riverview session was something I put together to document the music that I had been playing with Jesse and Danny last summer. I knew Jesse and Mike had a long history of playing together, and Mike had absolutely killed the material on the gigs we had played that winter, so I wanted to include him as well. We recorded the entire album in one night at Bender Studios in Delmar, N.Y., which is run by a great guitarist named Sten Isachsen.
When you're in the studio, playing your music, how do you approach it? Are you open to suggestions? How protective are you about your compositions?
With this record, and most of my others, we had the advantage of honing the material in rehearsals and live situations leading up to the session. I feel like I'm pretty open to suggestions, but I'm sure the guys in my regular band would probably tell you otherwise! As I mentioned earlier, with certain tunes I tend to have concrete ideas of the overall sound I want to achieve. But if there is one thing I've learned over the years as a bandleader, it's to value the input of musicians you admire and respect.