Bassist and composer Robert Hurst's sixth release as a leader Bob a Palindrome crackles with excitement and brims with innovative ideas. Leading a superlative ensemble made up of long time collaborators, Hurst presents eight of his compositions that range from the impressionistic to the intimately poetic.
The pièce de résistance is the dramatic three part "Middle Passage Suite" that unfolds with an Ellingtonian (pianist, bandleader composer Duke Ellington
' crashing cymbals conjures images of a dark stormy sea. Hurst and Rudolph provide the framework for the second act with their somber and hypnotic continuously evolving vamp with North African sensibilities. Hurst's pensive and edgy pizzicato bass raises the curtain on the third. The movement features a passionate adlib dialogue between saxophonist Branford Marsalis
's Cubanesque improvisation cascades over the dark, horn driven vamps that conclude the tune. On the latter Glasper switches to Fender- Rhodes, as his shimmering resonant keys sound vaguely like vibraphone bars as he thrills with an intelligent, sing song extemporization. Marsalis' warm, serpentine soprano develops into an idyllic and imaginative ode.
In addition to being an intriguing composer and a consummate bandleader, Hurst excels at spontaneous creativity. His mellow, deep con arco bass on the fantastical "3 for Lawrence" is fluid in its virtuosity and complex in structure. The track also showcases Maupin's muscular and agile alto flute that undulates with an almost a Levantine touch.
Full of stimulating and clever musical twists, ardent and eloquent soloists and a thematic coherence, this superb album is destined to be a classic.
Track Listing: 3 for Lawrence; Picked from Nick; Big Queen; Tigers On Venus; Middle Passage Suite Part I-
For Those of Us Who Made It; Middle Passage Suite Part II- For Those of Us That Didn't Make It
; Middle Passage Suite: Part III - For Those of Us Still Here; Little Queen; Indiscreet in Da
Street; Jamming - A.K.A. Ichabad.
Personnel: Robert Hurst: bass; Branford Marsalis: soprano and tenor saxophones, Robert Glasper: piano
and keyboards; Marcus Belgrave: trumpet and flugelhorn; Bennie Maupin: alto flute, bass
clarinet, soprano and tenor saxophones; Jeff "Tain" Watts: drums; Adam Rudolph: percussion.