Harking of bossa nova’s debonair sashays and classic jazz’s alluring undulations and graceful swagger, the trio of bassist/composer Mark Saltman, drummer/composer William Knowles, and singer Lori Williams-Chisholm present a heavenly setting enveloped in tranquilizing riffs throughout the music of their latest release Return of the Composer. Produced by Saltman and Knowles, the album is rigged with a soft pendulum that sways from the reclining Caribbean-toned rhythms of "A Study in Purple" to the sprigs of flickering jazz rubbles that spout from "Homeland." The trio investigates many facets of smooth Latin and classic jazz idioms, and coalesce these individual factions into sonically blushing embroideries, which prove that modern jazz continues to evolve and hold significance in a modern age.
The sensuality of "Shalom And Salaam" has an exotic Latin-flare, and the toe-tingling escapades of "Disfavor" have a warm glow as horns and keyboards intertwine with each other in an elegant fashion. The downy flakes released by the saxophone puffs of "Seeds And Deeds" install cushiony cloud-clusters around Lori’s vocals as the lackadaisical stroll in the depressions and peaks of the piano keys through "It’s Been A Mad Spring" puts the listener at complete ease. It’s music that needs for nothing more, and slows utter contentment in its own realm of tranquilizing riffs and lounging rhythms. The sensual saxophone rolls of "Creepin’ Up" wrap smoothly around the melodic lines of the piano, and the uplifting feel ferrying the harmonies along "A Pillar Of Saltman" make for a reverent tribute to Saltman’s father, Kopi Saltman who passed away before his time.
The trio’s collaborations show vitality and an artistry that opens up jazz palettes to new expressions and ideas, which are melodically glazed while steep in ingenuity. Sometimes new does not mean being avant garde, but having a freestyle that moves gracefully like Saltman Knowles can do. Sounding new and modern can be just as persuasive as the standards do, without compromising one’s graceful swagger and melodic intonations as this Washington D.C. group has shown in their album Return to the Composer.