Seattle, Washington-based trumpeter/composer/blogger Jason Parker highly recommended that I listen to "Dialogue" (Origin Records), the new CD from the trio of trumpeter Thomas Marriott, Mark Taylor (alto saxophone) and drummer Matt Jorgensen. It's actually the ensemble's 2nd CD which was released in 2010 in Marriott's name as "Human Spirit." That's now the name of the group.
The 8 tracks here were recorded in October of 2011 at Seattle's Earshot Jazz Festival. For the live performances, pianist Orrin Evans and bassist Essiet Essiet joined the trio. This music crackles with energy, the songs (4 by Marriott, 2 each by Taylor and Jorgensen) have strong rhythmic foundation and good melodic structure. Don't know if Essiet and Jorgensen have worked much together but they click from the opening moment of the drummer's (aptly-titled) piece, "In Unity." With an opening melody reminiscent of The Jazz Crusaders, the song opens up into a solo section that allows the players to fly over the propulsive rhythm section. The soloists have a limited amount of time and each one shines. Marriott's crisp tone and fervid imagination is evident every time he lifts the horn to his lips. On "Song for Samuel" (a Marriott composition that would fit right in the repertoire of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers or the contemporary septet, The Cookers), he, Taylor and Evans burst out with hearty solos. After you listen to their fine work, play the track again and pay attention to the splendid rhythm section. The trumpeter also contributes the handsome ballad, "148 Lexington" - here the drums are somewhat spare while Essiet offers strong counterpoint to the soloists although, when Taylor picks up the intensity during his solo, Jorgensen responds (also pay attention to Evans evocative backing work and sweet solo.) The drummer lights yet another fire under the band on his piece, "Ridgecrest"; the intensity rarely lets up although everybody lays back for the forceful and melodic bass solo.
Like just about all "live" CDs, "Dialogue" makes the listener wish he or she had been in the audience on the nights this music was created. Human Spirit, indeed!