By Jeffrey V. Smith
Patrick Latella is a very versatile and accomplished musician. He has been performing, writing, and producing professionally since 1993 and has been playing music for 35 years. His compositions span a wide variety of styles and genres, while his live shows run the gamut of original material from electric rock/fusion to power trio to acoustic bluegrass, chamber ensemble and solo. The musician, who perofmrs at the Stage Sop in Rollinsville, July 11, recently revived his rock fusion project Ethereal Plane with a new album release.
Despite the wide range of music Latella has created over the years, he is best known these days for his skilled work as the acoustic guitarist and vocalist in Fort Collins-based bluegrass band Whitewater Ramble. Three of his songs also appear on the band’s album, “Roots & Groove,” released in April 2013.
Latella also made a name for himself in local bluegrass circles with his band Fireweed, which he started in Nederland in 1997 and has included members of Yonder Mountain String Band, Leftover Salmon, The Motet, Runaway Truck Ramp, Tony Furtado Band, Hit & Run Bluegrass and the Pete Kartsounes Band in its many incarnations.
While his bluegrass chops are well known and admired, his electric rock fusion ensembles and compositions deserve the same consideration. In 1998, Latella released “Live in ‘98 – Symphonic Fusion” by his Nederland-based band, Butterhead. It wasn’t until 2002, however, that Latella began to fully realize his fusion concepts with his band Ethereal Plane. As the primary force behind the band’s original tunes, he combines “melodic themes and funky rhythms with surreal visions and liquid atmospheres.”
According to Latella, The Ethereal Plane makes music that is an “exploration” through rock, jazz-fusion, funk, trance and improvisation “with a collective drive to unify the band and audience through the hypnotic energy of music and transcendental dance therapy.” The idea of the band was to capture “the true musical essence and magic of composition meets improvisation.”
The recently released album, “Dreaming In The Southern Sun,” featuring five original compositions, was a “pretty special album release” for the guitarist. The album, written and produced by Latella, displays a “beautiful intersection of composition and improvisation” and features his melodic guitar playing coupled with soloing which is both creamy and ferocious, accompanied by an all-star band.”
Recorded live at the Southern Sun Pub in Boulder on Feb. 23, 2009, then meticulously mixed, tracked and overdubbed for over three years by Latella and E-Town house drummer and local legend Christian Teele. The show was the last full performance by The Ethereal Plane, ending a chapter in the musical path of Latella and leading him to his next adventures.
Similar to other acts he’s led, Latella hand-picked some of the best players in the Colorado music scene to help him bring his music to life. The lineup featured on this album is Latella, Teele, keyboardist Bill McKay, guitarist Christian Mockett, bassist Brian Adams and Pete Wall on saxophone. “This tight and experienced unit brings together a diverse musical background to create a unique blend of sonic power that elevates the mind and fills the dance floor,” Latella said.
Although composed by Latella, it’s the performances by the band members that make the album an achievement, according to the musician. With amazing improvisational moments throughout, and “soulful and powerful performances” by each member, the compositions by Latella “become a cosmic soundscape that could only be achieved with the raw emotive attack of the incredible musicians involved,” he said.
Watch for a new solo album from the artist to be recorded this summer Visit www.
patricklatella.com to learn more about Latella’s music.