Drummer/percussionist Matt Jorgensen’s regular band releases this disc, Another Morning, their fourth studio recording on the Origin label. The longtime band mates, (Mark Taylor - saxophone, Ryan Burns - Fender Rhodes, Phil Sparks - bass) are joined by trumpeter Thomas Marriott on three cuts and guitarist Jason Goessl on two. Jorgensen’s background includes studying with Kenny Washington at the New School for Social Research in New York City, playing in the swing group The Delegates, working with saxophonist Vincent Herring and sitting in with pianist Joanne Brackeen.
This recording includes intricately structured fusionish charts that seem to mix elements of Chick Corea’s Return To Forever band with work derived out of the compositional style of Michael Brecker. The result is a nice collection of forward-thinking tunes that also pay credit to the history of 1970s jazz. Mark Taylor’s "Spectre" has a nice open-vibe about it that allows the saxophonist to create without a highly organized chordal structure to limit his ideas. "Sweetpea" is an electronic indie rock-like burner that belies its name, and "Lockdown" is a nice ballad-esque trip through shades of upper-partial chordal concepts.
More interesting, however, is the hip-trippy cover of the Lennon/McCartney "Helter Skelter" that breaks into an interesting swing section during the solos, and Neil Young’s famous CSNandY hit "Ohio." Goessl’s guitar and Marriott’s trumpet are both used to fine effect in capturing the aura, this second piece, of the music of that era seen through a jazz vein.
Jorgensen is a fine musician who is able to handle multiple time concepts adroitly and spin out rock influenced rhythmic beats with the best of them. Burns’ keyboard work shows a true understanding of the power and possibilities inherent in not only the Fender Rhodes, but also the organ and Moog synthesizer. Sparks’ bass playing is as steady as it gets. Together the three make an admirable rhythm section that is more influenced by trends in progressive rock than jazz. Since their arrangements are geared this way, their performance makes logical sense.
Saxophonist Taylor appears, at times, to be the odd man out. His playing is more aimed at jazz and jazz oriented scalular development as opposed to the simpler harmonic orientation required to be a successful performer in the rock idiom. That is not to imply he doesn’t have chops, he’s just not always used to his best effect. Overall this is a solid document capturing the band at their current state of development.