Michael Jordan has dug his own musical garden, and now the flowers are blooming. His conceptions as both composer and drummer are uniquely intertwined, his pieces exploring the melodic potential of a large kit of Roto-toms tuned to specific notes. But let’s put the rigour underpinning the methodology partially aside to concentrate on the art. In Motian is a tribute to drummer Paul Motian, among the all-time great bandleaders for drawing out the best in other musicians. He smeared an abstracted vision of the time on to the sonic canvas, without cluttering the music – as Jordan does here with the exceptional Barney McAll (piano) and Julien Wilson (tenor saxophone).
The following Cezanne has Jordan’s drums creating the illusion of bass lines, while his cymbals bathe the piano and Wilson’s bass clarinet in an almost sacred radiance. A solo drum adaptation of My Romance enchants, before Jordan broadens the palette with a string quintet, against which he uses mallets to voice eerie chords on his kit. His imagination and phenomenal craft level has resulted in wondrously varied, wildly compelling (try Gilberto!) and often otherworldly music.