Noah Preminger Quartet, “For the Man with the Golden Arm”
The celebrated filmmaker Otto Preminger died on April 23, 1986 — about six weeks before Noah Preminger, a distant relation and future saxophonist, was born. That rough alignment of familial connection and cosmic timing always lurked somewhere in the background of Noah’s consciousness. It moved more into the foreground when he began his studies at the New England Conservatory, encountering pianist and teacher Ran Blake, a classic film buff and Otto P. fan.
Preminger Plays Preminger is the well-steeped byproduct of this fascination: an act of personal archeology that also amounts to an exercise in aesthetic translation. Noah has apparently been plotting an album like this for years; he finally made it for Newvelle Records, which has selected it as the the first entry in a new season of subscription-only vinyl releases.
The album features a quartet with a first-rate rhythm section: Jason Moran on piano, Kim Cass on bass and Marcus Gilmore on drums.
Preminger Plays Preminger isn’t an album of refurbished movie themes — though it does engage with Duke Ellington’s indelible score for Anatomy of a Murder. For much of the album, Noah presents original music cued to specific moments or scenes in Otto’s filmography. The piece above, a bonus track, draws inspiration from The Man with the Golden Arm, which earned Oscar nominations for composer Elmer Bernstein as well as its star, Frank Sinatra. Rather than building on Bernstein, it inhabits a new sphere of silvery melancholy — and suggests the expanded sound of a quintet, because Preminger made the decision to overdub his tenor saxophone.
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.
“Waltz For Diana,” which has its premiere here, is a case in point. As the title implies, it’s a contemporary response to Bill Evans’ “Waltz For Debby.” But as Palmer explains in his liner notes, it also builds on a vintage Kurt Rosenwinkel composition, “Dream of the Old” (which, in its original iteration, featured Turner). The melody is springy with deft intricacies, and the solos are terrific throughout. Rhyme and Reason is also one of the first projects realized by Giant Step Arts, a nonprofit founded by noted photographer Jimmy Katz.
Cyrille Aimée, “Marry Me A Little”
Move On: A Sondheim Adventure is the smartly realized new album by Cyrille Aimée, who taps a deep reserve of emotional complexity and harmonic sophistication in Stephen Sondheim’s music. I’ve reflected on the album here before, and Aimée is the featured guest on a brand-new edition of WBGO’s Singers Unlimited, hosted by Michael Bourne. But it also seemed right to share this proper music video for the album’s lead single, directed by Noé Cugny.
Move On: A Sondheim Adventure is available now on Mack Avenue.
Stephan Crump’s Rosetta Trio, “Dec. 5”
Bassist and composer Stephan Crump has now made four albums with Rosetta Trio, his string ensemble with guitarists Liberty Ellman and Jamie Fox. The latest is Outliers, just out on Papillon Sounds.
As is always the case with this band, the album strikes a balance between delicate chamber atmosphere and direct emotional expression. That’s partly a function of Crump’s writing; it also has a lot to do with the interplay he fosters with Ellman (acoustic) and Fox (electric). “Dec. 5,” one of the more exquisite pieces on the album, perfectly captures this dynamic, with a ballad that moves like a dawning realization.
Rosetta Trio is currently touring the west coast; see Crump’s website for details.
Sam Pluta and Peter Evans, “De Singer (Part 1)”
Over the last decade, electronics artist Sam Pluta and trumpeter Peter Evans have appeared on 10 albums together, plumbing the depths of pure sound in improvisational settings. Their new, go-for-broke statement is Two Live Sets, releasing this Friday on Carrier Records.
One of the two sets on the album was recorded at the De Singer jazz club in Belgium. The first portion of that performance has its premiere here, and it’s a stunner — a 25-minute saga full of unexpected twists, furnished both by Pluta’s real-time sampling and sonic manipulation and Evans’ superhuman acoustic interventions.
Two Live Sets will be released on Friday; preorder it here.