Sets of broken patterns become the source of this music. In listening to this music you need to steer away from pushing the round peg of what you hear into a square hole of what you know to open a possibility for your own enrichment.
Palm of Soul begins with Kidd Jordan’s fanfare on his tenor. The fanfare announces the straightforward honesty of what is to come. You think that this recording is about the horn. But then you realize that the balance set forth in song is ruptured by the gradual methodical influx of the the gongs, bowls, cymbals and drums. The horn works its way through the percussion constantly and then the music, you reassess, is concerned with the percussion.
Jordan unrolls color variations on his tenor that make his one instrument come across like an orchestra. A comforting basic rhythm orientation behind the tenor often lifts the reed instrument to achieve greater meaning to perpetuate a theme and wild, then tamed, improvisation thereafter.
A pivotal point for a recollection of the balance in the music is the entry of Drake singing and playing frame drum. His voice casts calmness through the aural space into which you want to melt. On both the frame drum and the tabla, Drake maintains a Buddha-like middle ground that tempers the disjointedness of the horn. The inescapable pulsing of both instruments constructs leeway for the horn to align with the pulse. The guimbri, the talking drum and the frame drum have the same unresonating gutsy quality that puts the horn on a pedestal.
The overall combination of instruments operates so evenly that the horn stays as powerful as the rhythm section and the rhythm section transcends itself. It is unnecessary to supply any more descriptions of the relationships of the individual sounds that the trio projects. The musicians and you and I are all in the center.... in the palm of soul.