Seattle-based drummer Matt Jorgensen tattoos every recording he releases with a mark of bold, clean modernity—whether working with his group Matt Jorgensen + 451 on Hope (Origin Records, 2004) and Another Morning (Origin Records, 2008), or Tattooed By Passion (Origin Records, 2010). Add in scores of sideman slots. His is a distinctive sound, compositionally and instrumentally, on his own or backing his labelmates.
Transatlantic is the second outing by the Jorgensen vehicle, Chamber 3, a follow up to the group's Grassroots (Origin Records, 2014). It is again a teaming of saxophonist Steffen Weber and guitarist Christian Eckert, from the European (German) side of the pond, and Seattle-ite Jorgensen, with another Northwesterner, Phil Sparks, sitting in on bass.
Comparing selected jazz outings to soundtracks, a good portion of modern jazz lines up in the "score for a dystopian science fiction tale" queue. Chamber 3's sound leans more to the utopian side, full of positive energy and crisp precision.
The set opens with "The Sparks," a Jorgensen composition that sounds like an outtake (that shouldn't have been taken out) of an unreleased Matt Jorgensen + 451 recording. It conjures an image of a train rolling inexorably in the direction if its destination. A modern train, well-engineered, the moving parts well-lubricated, its mechanism of propulsion calibrated to perfection.
The songwriting duties are shared. Guitarist Eckert's "Chillaxed" has a more relaxed feel than Jorgensen's opener, with a cool-toned sax solo and shimmering guitar in front of a gentle drum/bass rumble. "Costa del Sol," from saxophonist Weber's pen, does indeed shine with a sunny sound, a "drinks in the cabana at sunset" atmospheric.
Chamber 3 closes out with a straight take on the familiar "When You Wish Upon A Star." It begins with a sax solo in the foreground of what sounds like a gentle roar of the ocean, or maybe a hum of passing traffic, before it shifts into a higher gear, the melody pushed forward by deft, understated yet-consistent rhythmic drive, shining a light on a different side of the tune. A fine way to end the show.