Aug 13 2016
Recorded at a 2014 performance at London’s Pizza Express Jazz Club, this live set, led by trumpeter Jason Palmer and pianist Cédric Hanriot, has plenty of post-bop fire while still finding time to swing. In fact, it’s the way this quintet morphs between two prevalent states of straight-ahead jazz that becomes the primary source of intrigue. The consequence of this persistent state of change is that the music sometimes sinks into an alluring moodiness, creating an environment where melodies exist forever framed in moonlight, sometimes cool, sometimes bold. And an equally compelling result of these slight transformations is the implicit looseness of form that lets the sense of structure dangle precariously until those striking moments where a sudden burst of sharp melodicism causes the song to attain its ultimate shape. For the most part, City of Poets consists of up-tempo tunes, and the electricity of the live setting is palpable even on the recorded medium. It’s because of this highly charged atmosphere that the more thoughtful, patient passages resonate with considerably greater strength.
There’s some thematic tie-ins to the music theory of Olivier Messiaen’s 7 Modes of Limited Transportation as well as to the Hyperion Cantos fiction novels of Dan Simmons. For some, this will add further intrigue to the experience of this project. However, a listener who exists in a vacuum of this information will experience no less enjoyment from this solid recording. You really can’t go wrong with this one.
Your album personnel: Cédric Hanriot (piano), Jason Palmer (trumpet), Donny McCaslin (tenor sax), Michael Janisch (double & electric basses) and Clarence Penn (drums).
Released on Whirlwind Recordings.
Check out more of this music on the artist’s Soundcloud page.