“Mythomania” is the second release from New Orleans-based quartet Matt Booth & Palindromes. A premier ensemble in the city’s fruitful scene of creative improvised music, the band presents original music and a unique ensemble sound that pushes at the boundaries of what is generally accepted as “New Orleans music”. Helmed by bassist Matt Booth, Palindromes also features top sidemen from the city: saxophonist Brad Walker, guitarist Chris Alford, and drummer Doug Garrison. “Mythomania” features four of Booth’s own compositions and three unlikely covers by Egberto Gismonti, Melvin Gibbs, and Dirty Projectors, offering an alternative take on contemporary jazz.

Recorded in late 2019 in the state-of-the-art concert hall at the New Orleans Jazz Museum, the album finds the ensemble assured and interconnected, with three years of growth following their debut self-titled recording (Breakfast for Dinner Records, 2016). The earliest iteration of Palindromes was begun by Booth in Pittsburgh, PA in the early 2010s as a way to explore both his burgeoning compositional voice and his interest in the underexplored repertoire (e.g. Ornette Coleman, Paul Motian, Carla Bley). Upon moving to New Orleans in 2015, his initial band of personnel became the permanent line-up.

The music on “Mythomania” conveys a desire of Booth’s to cover a wide scope of ground, both emotionally and stylistically. There are pockets of brooding, intense free improvisation, spacious and expansive aural meditations, earnest ballad lyricism, and an overall embrace of feels familiar to jazz and rock at large. Of the four original pieces penned by the bandleader, two feature the free-time experimentalism found in the writing of Motian or Coleman, and two, considerably more mellow in tone, follow more conventional jazz forms. The cover material is culled from three artists of very different backgrounds yet tend towards more traditional song-writing, featuring intoxicating melodies at once beautiful and morose.

This is delightful laid back jazz reminiscent of the Paul Motian, Joe Lovano, Bill Frisell trios on JMT, Winter & Winter, and ECM with the added value of Booth’s melodic playing.

To be featured on World of Jazz 440

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