Sounds  January 23, 1971

Patto and progress

PATTO are merely a quartet and looking at their line-up on paper they would seem a rather limited combination to execute their musical ideas.

Yet listening to Patto they are in no way limited. Their music is a convincing fusion of a jazz feel, which has become a well-worn cliche of late but here it truly applies, and rock ideas.

Pattoís line-up consists of Mike Patto, vocals, John Halsey, drums, Olly Halsall, guitar, acoustic guitar, piano and vibraphone and Clive Griffiths, bass. For those who remember Timebox of three years ago, the names should be familiar because it is the self-same group, minus organ.

Timebox, during their time gained much respect, but Mike Patto, in retrospect, says Timebox reached their limitations and so it became pointless to continue the group.

PATTO: have achieved much in recognition

Patto was formed six to eight months ago with its present personnel and since then they have achieved much in recognition, plus a fine album on the Vertigo label.

"I don't think weíve done badí, says Mike. "You know itís taken us eight months to get from "who the hell are Patto" to getting good gigs and an album out. It isnít the greatest album in the world but weíre pleased with it because itís just what we wanted it to be, which is honest. Just the four of us recording without studio tricks."

Mike puts over opinions with such extrovert conviction, you find it impossible to dismiss his views without much thought. Of the album and its contents, he repeats that the group are pleased with it but he emphasises that they are first and foremost a band who thrive on live gigs.

"The same way as on the album, although we have changed slightly since then, we are basically a very simple band. Weíre aware of what weíre doing and we keep within our confines. At the moment we donít want to augment. There have been a couple of well respected musicians who have expressed their wishes to join the band but weíre keeping it to a four piece for the time being. The band are really very down to earth, with two guys from Liverpool with us you canít be anything else," he quipped.

For a future album, Mike says they have enough material for about three albums but they will be recording again fairly soon.

"Anything we record will obviously be different from the first because things naturally change. When we formed Patto there were a few things which we were very bitter towards and we played very hard with a couldnít give a damn attitude, we still play hard but as people weíre more relaxed and generally much happier."

Apart from working with Patto, Mike has been appearing with Keith Tippetís "Centipede" project which he has enjoyed immensely.

"The whole idea of Centipede is a tremendous thing, says Mike. "But a lot of people have sadly missed the whole point of it. Like, some critics have seen Centipede and they judge it as if it were the Buddy Rich Big Band. Nobody says itís technically perfect but weíre trying to create a certain feeling of brotherhood and I think it has worked in this respect.

Speaking of the current state of music in Britain just now, Mike finds it generally healthy, but also says there are things which distress him.

Mike: "For sheer energy and drive thereís no-one to top The Who. There should be bands around who can equal them but there arenít because there are too many paranoic and frightened musicians. Thereís other things too, like the Press, who can manipulate things out of all proportion.

"I find that the standard of musicianship is going up very gradually. Itís not because they are not aware as they should be itís because they are too aware of what an audience demands. For instance, musicians play their best if theyíre playing in front of other musicians because they understand what each other is trying to do. Audiences donít consist of musicians so bands have to play them what they know and recognise."

Mike has been singing professionally for the past seven years and says all his previous groups have been leading up to Patto.

"Some of the bands that Iíve been in just got stoned all the time, and although the music was good for the time, they never progressed beyond a certain point. Thereís always plenty you can do to improve yourself instead of just sitting around."

To illustrate his point, Mike says Patto resolved themselves at the beginning to writing good songs which were slightly different and on listening to their album that is exactly what theyíve done. -- RAY TELFORD.



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