From Pause/Record
Flowtilla - Out of the Inside CD

Formerly known as the Len Patterson Trio, Flowtilla is a Bay Area based groove unit. Featuring Patterson on guitar, his wife Ellen Schoenwetter on bass, and Jan Jackson on drums, Flowtilla has grown leaps and bounds from their first CD (which was already pretty damn good). Here the all-instrumental group dives even deeper into the groove than they have in the past. Perhaps it is the combination of the facts that the left-handed Patterson learned to play a right-handed guitar upside down as well as his deep knowledge of jazz chords that leads to such interesting sounds and ideas from him. Meanwhile the rhythm section is up to the challenges Patterson lays down. Schoenwetter digs deep on the bass, while Jackson's drums are informed not just his jazz and groove work with groups like Will Bernard and Motherbug, but also the beats of his hip hop work with The Coup. These fine grooves offer as much to tickle to synapses as they do to get the booty shakin'.

From Jamspace
Flowtilla - Out of the Inside CD
Flowtilla is a three-piece band out of the Bay Area. Its members are Len Paterson on guitar, Jan Jackson on drums, and Ellen Schoenwetter on bass. This is a great disc to get a party going. The group takes a theme or a rhythm and they run with it. The guitar soars along over Jackson and Schoenwetter's sometimes jazzy, sometimes funky, sometimes driving grooves. Len, Ellen, and Jan all definitely have some serious playing ability. I especially enjoyed the first half of this disc. Fun band.

From Double Dare Press
Len Paterson Trio

LEN PATERSON TRIO, "SUNNY CLOUDY" (Len Paterson) - A Bay Area guitarist who is obviously steeped in the tradition of Grant Green and Wes Montgomery, Len Paterson has made a fine jazz / acid jazz debut with "Sunny Cloudy." Paterson's chords and notes are played clean, with a minimum of effects or processing, while the rhythm section, which consists of his partner, Ellen Schoenwetter on bass and Jan Jackson (Will Bernard & Motherbug, The Coup) on drums, swing mightily no matter what tempo they choose. The band may have been influenced by Green and Montgomery, for example, but they are not simply recreating their sound. Rather, Paterson introduces other elements from music at times, such as the African rhythms in the title track, the restless, angular grooves of "Joviality," the loping, horse-drawn-carriage-around-the-tropical-island feel of "Attitude Is Everything," and the Latin rhythms of "The Nomad," reveal Paterson and company to be painting from a large conceptual palette. As good a guitarist as he is, most people will not want to look to his hands for fingering ideas; Paterson is left-handed, and taught himself to play on a regular guitar, so everything is upside down. Upside down or not, this is a very tasty collection of music.

Len Paterson Trio: Sunny Cloudy
Sophisticated but not stuck-up jazz delivered in the ever wonderful trio setting. Paterson possesses a big trick bag that has him sounding like everyone from Grant Green to the Tortoise boys. His rhythm cohorts know how to follow where he's going like the Blue Angels, moving in clean, intricate formations across the blue sky. The tunes have brightness to them, some even feel like the instrumental counterparts to Steely Dan's Aja. Wouldn't mind hearing how a spoonful of darkness thickened things up but in the meantime their mood swings nicely between the words in its title.

From High Sierra Music Festival Guide (band description)

Y'know the feeling you have when you're struck by a record you hear, start liking it more as it plays, feel as if you know it from somewhere and then suddenly burst out " who IS this, this is GOOD!". Thats the feeling we had when we first heard the Bay Area's Len Paterson Trio. Len is simply one of the more inventive players around, not really doing anything fancy or extraordinary. just doing everything tastefully and effectively playing stripped-down blues-based jams that always come off sounding fresh. Kinda like Ernest Ranglin. Aptly supported by long-time musical partner bassist Ellen Schoenwetter and drummer Jan Jackson this trio aims to please aims to please and does so with ease.

author: Peter Haas
 " Very catchy and funky jazz featuring some inventive guitar and bass interplay."

Flowtilla is a jazz-funk-fusion trio led by guitarist Len Paterson, With Ellen Schoenwetter on bass and Jan Jackson on drums. (In live appearances, other drummers often play instead.)  If you like jazz/funk/fusion and great guitar playing you are going to love Flowtilla. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing them play many times, and they’re one of those rare primarily local bands whose CD you just *have* to buy. It’s difficult to summarize their sound, because they flow (get it?) so readily from mood to mood. But if I had to, I’d emphasize the facts that they are (a) usually on the funky side (and I mean this more in the old-school sense than whatever is being called funky these days) and (b) really effective at creating a good flowing (see?) groove that grabs your sonic imagination and takes it for a ride.  Guitarist Len Paterson is both a unique voice on his instrument and a guy that can sound like any number of well-known jazz guitarists – without trying imitate any. Some have pointed to a Wes Montgomery influence, and I guess I can sense that in his melodic tone, but I also hear overtones of artists like John Scofield, Joe Beck, and others in that oeuvre. His solos are always interesting and he never plays just show how many notes he can stuff into a minute. He’s not afraid to mess around with treatments, although they are always tasteful. Bassist Schoenwetter is also special. She’s rather petite in person, her bass seeming almost as tall as she is, but she can really pound out an inventive and often funky bass line as well as a thoughtful solo. (She has the vintage Stanley Clarke string-poppin’ technique down cold!). Together the two have a remarkable chemisty and they can improvise simultaneously in a most engaging way. I’m not as familiar with drummer Jackson, but on record he is a very effective complement to the Flowtilla sound.  Finally, Flowtilla is great because Len (and the band, also credited) is a really talented jazz composer. His songs are memorable and even hooky. If you hear them once, you’re going to remember them the next time. In fact, I’d go so far to say that Flowtilla’s original compositions hold their own with much of the best of contemporary jazz. But they also have a knack for reworking pop songs into their own image…live, they will take songs like “Day Tripper”, or “Pick Up the Pieces” and turn them inside out without ever disgorging them.  Clariphnic has warm production (and includes some extra percussion for a fuller sound). “The Abyss” is a really amazing workout, that slithers from funk to almost a trance sound and then progresses to (dare I say it) Wes Montgomery-inspired rip by Paterson. “Punjabi,” as the title suggests, features a driving beat and an insanely catchy, twangy Indian theme, complete with some tabla. Paterson seems to be toying a little more with his sound on this one. This album is simply full of propulsive yet infectious tunes that grab the listener and stick to the brain. Flowtilla play around the San Francisco Bay Area; if you are anywhere near the South Bay, you can catch them (free!) on Saturday nights at the Paragon bar inside the Montgomery Hotel on South First Street. It’s some of the best live jazz in this area or any and definitely worth the trip to check it out. (You’ll probably see me there, too!) 
- - Peter Haas




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