You may wish you had paid more attention in your high school chemistry class, because listening to Rhyme And Reason
by trumpeter Jason Palmer
calls to mind the description of the nucleus of an atom. Spinning and spinning, various protons and neutrons are both attracted and held off by each other. Same can be said of his quartet recorded live at the Jazz Gallery in 2018. Listeners need not venture to the subatomic level to experience the electron charge this ensemble produces, all parts existing in a space that simultaneously maintain their structure while seemingly on the verge of detonation.
Palmer recorded here, not with his working band of 20 years, but with saxophonist Noah Preminger
. That music can be found on the two volumes of Jason Palmer At Wally's
(SteepleChase, 2018). Perhaps because he was recording away from his Boston home, and under the umbrella of the ambitious nonprofit Giant Step Arts, he employs different musicians, though he is equally conversant with these new players. Rhyme And Reason
opens with "Herbs In A Glass," a composite of sounds from Herbie Hancock and Robert Glas(s)per. But let's head back a bit here for the atomic (yes, still thinking about chemistry class) sounds of Lee Morgan
and Benny Golson
with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. Palmer and saxophonist Mark Turner
recreate that same energy here. So do bassist Matt Brewer
and drummer Kendrick Scott
. And thank you, because each musician is on equal footing with the sound-mix. Brewer's bass is heard front-and-center on each track, and it opens "Mark's Place" with a magic heard throughout. Same for Scott, whether wielding sticks or brushes, as he does on "Waltz For Diana," he plays not just the beat, but real music.
For this part (we can say "parts"), Palmer continues to impress with a golden tone, imaginative compositions, and generosity on the bandstand. This music is best experienced as it was when recorded. Turn up the volume and be engaged by the experience.
CD 1: Herbs In A Glass; Rhyme And Reason; Blue Grotto; Sadhana; CD 2: The Hampton Inn (For Alan);
Mark’s Place; Waltz For Diana; Kalispel Bay.
Jason Palmer: trumpet; Mark Turner: tenor saxophone; Matt Brewer: bass; Kendrick Scott: drums