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Eddie Palmieri Goes Full Circle and Brandon Coleman Reveals Giant Feelings, in Take Five

Jason Elon Goodman
Eddie Palmieri, whose new album is 'Full Circle

Eddie Palmieri, “Vámonos Pa’l Monte”

The maestro has returned to the mountain. On his super-dynamic new album, Full Circle, pianist and bandleader Eddie Palmieri breathes new life into a menu of his classic salsa compositions. One of these is “Vámonos Pa’l Monte,” the title track of his essential 1971 album — which, as critic and professor Gregory “Goyo” Pappas has put it, “represents the culmination of a period where Palmieri learned to successfully adopt and integrate an increasing number of jazz elements into his music.”

On Full Circle, “Vámonos Pa’l Monte” is actually played twice: in a sleek version featuring his working band, stocked with stalwarts like Little Johnny Rivero on congas and Jimmy Bosch on trombone; and in a big-band version arranged by Jose Madera. That enlargement, featuring vital reinforcements like tenor saxophonists Yosvany Terry and Ivan Renta, has all the explosive power that this tune would seem to require. Herman Olivera is in thrilling form on vocals, and so is Palmieri himself — in the sinewy pull of his montunos, and in a solo that begins at 2:50 and keeps turning unexpected corners until almost 5:00.

Eddie Palmieri performs at the Montclair Jazz Festival on Aug. 11, and at SummerStage in Central Park on Aug. 26; for more information, visit his website.

Brandon Coleman, “Giant Feelings”

If you’ve heard anything on record by Kamasi Washington, you’ve heard the keyboard wizardry of Brandon Coleman, a Los Angeles native with a taste for trippy soul. “Giant Feelings” is the lead single from Coleman’s forthcoming album Resistance, due out on Brainfeeder on Sept. 14. The track features Coleman and Washington alongside a familiar cohort, including Miguel Atwood Ferguson on violin and violas and Ronald Bruner, Jr. on drums. With vocals by Patrice Quinn and Techdizzle (and Coleman himself, through a vocoder), it slides from head-bobbing G-funk into an earnest celestial plane. The music video, which toggles between a sun-dappled hillside and a series of gray-backed interior shots, reflects Coleman’s balancing act, between a sense of mission and a spirit of play.

“Giant Feelings” is available now on streaming services; Resistance will be released on Sept. 14.

Davy Mooney & Ko Omura, “Benign Strangers”

Davy Mooney is an astute jazz guitarist and vocalist from New Orleans, though he has also lived in New York (and now teaches at his alma mater, the University of North Texas). Ko Omura is a drummer born in Tokyo, though he lived for years in the United States and in Australia before returning to Japan. These two peripatetic musicians met during one of Mooney’s Japanese tours, and quickly found a natural rapport. That bond is at the heart of their new album, Benign Strangers, which Sunnyside will release this Friday.

In addition to Mooney and Omura, the album features John Ellis on saxophones and clarinet, Glenn Zaleski on piano and Matt Clohesy on bass — a first-rate ensemble with hyperarticulacy as a common foundation. The deceptive ease of this group’s sound shines through on the title track, an Omura composition with a flowing time feel and a bittersweet tone.

Geof Bradfield, “In Flux”

Yes, and... Music for Nine Improvisers is the slyly titled new album by Geof Bradfield, a multireedist with firm roots in the Chicago scene. Supported by Chamber Music America’s New Jazz Works program, it’s an album of chamber-esque color and oft-surprising texture, because Bradfield is the sort of composer who creates room for departure. “Yes, and…” is a sworn methodology in improv comedy, refined in Chicago by gurus like Del Close and Charna Halpern. Its application in Bradfield’s music is indirect but hardly a lark.

Listen to the way that “In Flux” develops, blooming in orchestral fashion at first, and then settling into an ostinato for Scott Hesse’s guitar solo. Later there comes an interlude for woodwinds, brass and flute, and a riveting alto saxophone solo by Greg Ward. (Listen, too, for a brisk, fleeting moment in Russ Johnson’s trumpet solo, when the rhythm section modulates from straight-eighths to walking swing for exactly five seconds.) Bradfield has a regular residency at Andy’s Jazz Club in Chicago, and will appear on both the Chicago Jazz Festival and the Hyde Park Jazz Festival; his new album is out on Delmark.

Joey Baron and Robyn Schulkowsky, “Just Listen”

Most present-day jazz fans know Joey Baron, a drummer of quick reflex and deep ebullience, and a longtime collaborator to everyone from John Abercrombie to John Zorn. You might not be quite as familiar with Robyn Schulkowsky, because her contribution has largely occurred in a new-music context, and almost entirely in Europe. (She was born in South Dakota and emerged professionally in New Mexico, but has lived abroad since 1980.)

Now You Hear Me, recently released on the Intakt label, is an improvised summit of these two creative spirits. The album consists of four tracks, one of which, “Passage,” takes up more than 30 minutes. The track above, “Just Listen,” is easier to wrap your ears around; both percussionists work in a thoughtful, rustling mode, playing either brushes or mallets. But what begins in an elemental free tempo eventually locks into a groove — you might even say it swings.

A veteran jazz critic and award-winning author, and a regular contributor to NPR Music.