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Patitucci was born in Brooklyn, New York, where he began playing the electric bass at age 10, composing and performing at age 12, as well as playing the acoustic bass at 15, and the piano one year later. After moving west, he studied classical bass at San Francisco State University and Long Beach State University.
Patitucci has released 12 albums as a leader. In addition to his solo work, he has played on albums by B.B. King, Chick Corea, Clare Fischer, Joanne Brackeen, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Michael Brecker, John Abercrombie, George Benson, Dizzy Gillespie, Was Not Was, Roby Duke, Dave Grusin, Natalie Cole, Bon Jovi, Queen Latifah, Sting, The Manhattan Transfer, Carly Simon, Everything But The Girl and Twila Paris.
As a performer, he has played with his own band, and with Stan Getz, Wynton Marsalis, Joshua Redman, Randy Brecker, Freddie Hubbard, McCoy Tyner, and Tony Williams. He was selected to be the bassist for the GRP All-Star Big Band. Some of the many pop and Brazilian artists he has played with include Carole King, Astrud and João Gilberto, Airto Moreira and Flora Purim. Patitucci has worked with film composers such as Jerry Goldsmith, Ry Cooder, Henry Mancini, and John Williams.
Patitucci has led several projects of his own, in addition to playing with Chick Corea’s Elektric Band and Akoustic Band. He now[when?] is active in Shorter’s popular quartet. The group won the Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Jazz Album for the album Beyond the Sound Barrier in 2006.
He has taught at music schools and workshops in several countries, and he was the Artistic Director of the Bass Collective, a school for bassists in New York City, and he is involved with The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz and the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead program. He is currently Professor of Jazz Studies at City College of New York.
He currently endorses Yamaha basses and has had two 6-string signature models bearing his name, the TRB-JP and the TRB-JP2. The TRB-JP2 features a solid maple neck with a 26-fret ebony fingerboard with custom abalone and mother-of-pearl position markers and a 35″-scale length. Other refinements include a sandwiched body made of multiple layers of figured maple, alder and ash, a “slap” cut-out near the lower bout, gold hardware, die-cast tuners with pearloid buttons, a solid brass bridge and a pair of Alnico V double-coil humbucking pickups with an active 3-band EQ tuned to his specifications. The original TRB-JP sports the same features and specifications as the TRB-JP2, except it has a 24-fret neck with a standard 34″-scale length.