Jason Palmer’s “Rhyme and Reason” is the first release from Giant Step Arts, a nonprofit dedicated to giving underappreciated but visionary jazz musicians the support they need to make quality live albums. Palmer is a perfect first subject for this: He’s a thrifty improviser with a vast dynamic range and an ambitious composer, but he’s hardly known. On “Herbs in a Glass,” the album’s opener, he propels his band mates (the tenor saxophonist Mark Turner, the bassist Matt Brewer and the drummer Kendrick Scott) through a squirrelly nine-beat rhythm; the odd, open-ended meter ends up pushing his intense melody into the plain air, giving it a billowy freedom. RUSSONELLO
Jason Palmer, “Waltz For Diana”
A sharp, charismatic trumpeter with a refreshingly playful streak, Jason Palmer has released a succession of strong yet often-underappreciated releases over the last decade. His new double album, Rhyme and Reason, seems likely to garner some serious attention, and not just because it features an ace quartet with Mark Turner on tenor saxophone, Matt Brewer on bass and Kendrick Scott on drums.
I’m not quite prepared to put Jason Palmer on as high a pedestal as Clifford Brown, but as musical constructionists go, he is clearly one of the greatest I’ve heard in the past half-century. No two ways about it, this is a stunning album which bears repeated and careful listening.