Joel Frahm: The Navigator (2002)
Frahm is a contemporary of Matt Wilson, Patrick Zimmerli, and Chris Potter. These four young artists are developing distinct voices and solid reputations in the jazz community. Frahm made the acquaintance of bandleader/vocalist Betty Carter before joining drummer Matt Wilson’s band. He distinguished himself on Wilson’s two previous discs Going Once, Going Twice and Smile, and Frahm covers Wilson’s “Hymn (For Don Cherry)” here. “Hymn,” a slow tempo folk-blues, is one of the most memorable jazz tunes written in the past decade and a perfect improvisation vehicle. Like Jeff ‘Tain’ Watt’s "Blutain", it allows for space, contemplation and is a perfect showcase for Frahm’s excitable playing.
Accompanying Frahm are the in-demand session players Billy Drummond and Scott Colley, plus pianist David Berkman. Berkman adds four compositions to this date, plus is a perfect partner to Frahm. As on Berkman’s recent album Communication Theory he proves modern jazz isn’t just a rehashing of the 1960s, but an exercise in the communication of ideas. Together with Frahm, the pair honor John Coltrane not only in sound but in a forward push of the jazz envelope.
Track List:White Bear Speaks; Gradually, I Insert Myself Into The Conversation; Hymn (For Don Cherry); The Navigator; The Shoko Dance; Shards; My One And Only Love; Fort Wayne; Ants; Sister Julie.
Personnel: Joel Frahm
Record Label: Palmetto Records