To understand Tuck & Patti, it's best not to start with their music. Start rather with the wellspring of love within them; then their music begins to make perfect sense. Now celebrating their 20th year together as partners and soulmates, Tuck Andress and Patti Cathcart continue to stoke the fires, not only of their own love, but also of their love of life and of their passion for making music. To that end, the duo presents their latest Windham Hill album, Paradise Found, a bracing thirteen-song collection that surely invokes a kind of musical Eden.
Not that Tuck & Patti turn a blind eye to life's struggles. "We've been through some agony and pain," says Patti. "But joy is what continues to rise and shine. It's the basis of our music and everything we do. Call it divine love, love of your mate, love of your planet; whatever you call it, joy is what it's all about for us." Fortunately, Tuck & Patti are unequaled in converting that joy into memorable music. Produced and arranged by Patti Cathcart and engineered by Tuck Andress at their own Binky Studios in Menlo Park, California, Paradise Found adheres to Tuck & Patti's long standing tradition: minimalist arrangements featuring Tuck's astonishing guitar virtuosity and Patti's rich mezzo-soprano, with elegant brushstokes of instrumental color here and there, as well as a couple of radio-friendly songs with full band and backing vocals.
The album begins with "Lembranças" (Portuguese for "souvenir or remembrance"), a swinging Brazilian-flavored song by Patti and composer Rory Stuart that succinctly expresses faith in self-love as the prime vehicle for salvation. The performance also features Mark Miller on sax and David Frazier on percussion. The late Minnie Ripperton's "Adventures in Paradise" is here given a loving rendition, as is Laura Nyro's classic "Captain For Dark Mornings." Says Patti, "I've been a Laura Nyro fan forever, so we were thrilled when we were asked to play at a tribute concert at the Beacon Theater in New York. We did this song as a duet there, and knew we had to put it on the album."
"When We're Alone'' (a high-powered reworking of the Clifford Brown classic "Joy Spring" with Iyrics by Michael B. Stillman) features a scatting Patti while Tuck morphs into a one-man jazz ensemble. Tuck then takes center stage with a ravishing solo interpretation of Lerner & Lowe's "I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face." Says Tuck, "I derived my arrangement years ago listening to Wes Montgomery's performance. It turns out though I had worked it out all wrong. When I went back to his original years later, I discovered much I hadn't heard, but by then I was pretty attached to my arrangement." Patti's "Holiday...Paradise Found," perhaps the album's most upbeat track, is a dizzying celebration of the power of love.
The Beatle's "I Will" and Dan Hicks' "Walking One and Only" are two engagingly familiar songs done with panache and, in the case of the latter, a touch of whimsy. Patti's original composition "Forgiveness" came about after a chance meeting with Carlos Santana in an airport concourse. "We talked about keeping yourself sane and keeping your heart in the right place," she recalls. The song expands on that theme with Patti's customary warmth and reverence.
"All This Love" and "Dance With Me" were produced by Ricky Peterson in Minneapolis, and reveal the stunning depth of Tuck & Patti's abilities. Sexy, soulful, and featuring the glorious doo-wop harmonies of The Blenders, these two songs show how easily the duo adapts to full band. The fun and funky "You" nearly becomes a stomping delta blues track, thanks to Norton Buffalo's virtuoso harmonica playing. The album ends with a brilliant rendition of the Al Green classic "Let's Stay Together." Says Tuck, "Patti's mother loves Al Green, so we tried to get him to play at her 75th birthday party. That didn't work out, but we thought she'd dig it if we did the song on the album. It was going to be an instrumental at first, but when Patti heard me playing it, she started singing and that was that."
To reach the 20-year mark, it helps if two lovers continue to surprise each other. That's certainly the case with Tuck & Patti, whose marriage and musical partnership hold endless wonder for both. The Oklahoma-born Andress first studied piano as a youth, but eventually switched to guitar, relocating to the San Francisco Bay Area to study music at Stanford. Over time, Tuck developed his signature multi-layered playing technique that has so confounded critics and thrilled audiences. Patti Cathcart, a San Francisco native, was a classically trained vocalist who liked to hang out at jazz and rock clubs. The two describe their 1978 meeting as musical love at first sight (and soon after, it grew into the real deal, sealed by their 1981 marriage).
Over the subsequent six years, in clubs, steak joints, and lounges across the country, Tuck & Patti honed their highly individualistic style. Though Iabel deals frequently came their way, Tuck & Patti passed on all offers until they were certain of their goals and ambitions. That day came in 1988, when Windham Hill came calling. Their first three albums, Tears of Joy (1988), Love Warriors (1989), and Dream (1991), plus a pair of solo albums from Tuck — Reckless Precision and Hymns, Carols, and Songs About Snow — established the two worldwide, leading the dean of jazz critics, the late Leonard Feather, to make his now-famous pronouncement: ''Not since Ella fitzgerald met Joe Pass on stage has there been so felicitous a mating as Tuck & Patti." In 1995, the pair recorded Learning How To Fly for Epic Records before retuming home to Windham Hill to begin work on Paradise Found.
And so it begins again, the cycle of writing, recording, touring, and communing with fans worldwide. Like the seasons of the year, each part of the cycle affords pleasure and reward for Tuck & Patti. But, as always, most important to both is the steadfastness of their love. Sound corny? Just ask Tuck. "You find out a lot about the fabric of love over many years with somebody," he says. "People fall in love, and they think they couldn't experience that feeling any more deeply, but it turns out that's just the start. If you've got something good, and you hang in there, and you work real hard, the rewards are unbelievable. I feel we're experiencing those rewards on a daily basis."
Sounds something like paradise.
To download a Microsoft Word version of this biography, click here.
For more information, please contact Windham Hill/RCA Publicity:
Product Manager: Josie Di Chiara
Press, TV: Lucy Sabini
Radio: Suzy Changar
::: back to pressroom :::