Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Jason Palmer - Live From Summit Rock in Seneca Village (Giant Steps Arts, 2022)

Trumpeter Jason Palmer leads his third album for the artist focused non-profit Giant Step Arts, helming a talented quartet featuring Mark Turner on tenor saxophone, Edward Perez on bass and Johnathan Blake on drums. Recorded live at the scenic Summit Rock, a location within Central Park, New York City. “Falling In” opens the program with a nice unaccompanied trumpet intro, leading to a steaming hard bop full band improvisation. The music settles down to quiet trumpet with bass and drums in conversation. A crisp and complicated bass and drums rhythm pattern is introduced, and builds the momentum of the piece with Palmer keeping pace without a hitch. Perez’s fine bass solo is gently framed by trumpet and light drumming, leading to the conclusion of this performance. Palmer and Turner set a mysterious opening theme on “Landscape With An Obelisk (Flinck)” which is  picked up by the drummer in open space, and Blake develops this into a drum solo that is focused and well played, becoming fast and frantic. Horns re-enter with bass support, creating music that is rapid and nimble, and where the bass and drums support the trumpet feature. “Kalispel Bay” sees Palmer using a dry tone for unaccompanied trumpet, then the other instruments glide in with a subtle swinging feel, leading to a nicely harmonized theme from the two horn players. Turner forges a warm and embracing saxophone tone along with active input from intelligent bass and drum  support. Palmer takes the baton for his own solo that has a well controlled tone and range and uses a wide musical vocabulary.  This long round-robin nature of the track moves to an earthy and pleasant bass feature, before returning to more formal harmonized theme and ending. There is a deep bass solo on “Self Portrait (Rembrandt)” laying the groundwork, and band moves in with a light and agile sound that seems to float just above the stage. Horns combine to make the attractive theme before the focus returns to another fine bass and percussion duet. Turner’s saxophone gradually builds his own statement, playing patiently with a rounded tone. Drums and tenor saxophone rise in tempo and volume, creating an exciting improvisation, but things throttle down again for the Palmer’s turn. The trumpeter uses a more nuanced tone, adding a bit of grit and pop to his playing, arcing long tones, punctuating with fast flurries of notes over stout bass and drums. “Program For An Artistic Soiree (Degas)” ends the album with a tight bass and drums foundation for two horns playing closely, allowing a well paced trumpet solo to develop which is framed by thick bass and dancing cymbals. There is a wonderfully deep tenor saxophone solo pushed by the engine room of bass and drums, and then everyone loops together for their final bow. This album worked quite well with the quartet adapting well to the unique outdoor stage and using the setting to stretch out and play lengthy solos and intricate collective sections. Fans of mainstream jazz would enjoy this album. Live From Summit Rock in Seneca Village - bandcamp.com

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