Kidd Jordan / Hamid Drake / William Parker: Palm of Soul
""With steely determination and emotional resolve in the face of great tragedy, Jordan, Parker and Drake have created a timeless album of understated, dark beauty. Palm of Soul is spiritually revelatory free jazz, hauntingly beautiful and emotionally resonant."
–Troy Collins, All About Jazz
Music: 4/4 Stars
Sonics: 4/4 Stars
–The Absolute Sound
AUM Fidelity had wanted to produce an album with New Orleans’ master saxophonist-teacher-role model-eminent patriarch Kidd Jordan in trio with fellow master musicians William Parker and Hamid Drake for some time. Everything came together in Summer 2005. The recording session was set for the 3rd week of September and flights to NYC from New Orleans & Chicago were booked. Then Katrina hit. When we were finally able to reach Kidd by phone and ask how he was doing, he said "OK now," as he had just found out that his son Marlon was safe after 5 days of having been one of the many hundreds (thousands?) that had been stranded rooftop while helicopters passed by overhead. When I asked if he would still be able to make the session, he replied,“Yeah man, let’s do it!”
From the gently yearning space search "Forever" to the epic saga "Living Peace" to the deep North African grooves created on "Unity Call" and "So Often" to the majestic Far East parade of the closing track – Palm of Soul presents three master musicians in intimate musical conversation at the highest levels – rendering songs and mesmeric pieces which elicit the full gamut of emotion. A major and utterly distinct album work.
From the liner notes by Steve Dollar:
"Though he's been recording since the 1950s, Kidd Jordan has never made anything like Palm of Soul. This trio session, recorded less than a month after Hurricane Katrina chased the 70-year-old saxophone master from his native New Orleans, is a testament to a life steeped in the deepest reservoirs of American music and fully committed to the moment. Completely improvised, the date brings Jordan back together with a pair of treasured colleagues, consummate players with whom he enjoys a rare connection: drummer Hamid Drake and bassist William Parker.
"The delicately shifting sonic space of these pieces, awash in the sensory cues of Asian, African and Indian folk forms, evokes the exploratory tradition of 1960s innovators such as trumpeter Don Cherry – with whom both Drake and Parker were affiliated early in their careers – while the mercurial glimmer of Jordan's soulfully considered lines reflect the essential fact of jazz: At its truest, it is the sound of someone thinking on their feet, an evanescent confluence of breath, heart, intellect and nerve. Jordan navigates the rhythmic shimmers and hovering tone-clouds created by Parker and Drake with a tenor that can sear like an erupting sunspot or cascade as softly and unpredictably as a leaf slipping down an autumn breeze."
"This album is a tribute both to the power of the players and of improvised music itself." –Chris Kelsey, JazzTimes
"Kidd Jordan plays the saxophone like a master storyteller. Like any well-told tale, Palm of Soul only gets better each time it's heard. –Todd A. Price, Offbeat (New Orleans)
"A bastion of strength in these troubled times."
–Nic Jones, All About Jazz "