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City Of Poets

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City Of Poets
City Of Poets


American trumpeter Jason Palmer and French pianist/composer Cédric Hanriot's improvisational concept 'City Of Poets' is centered around Olivier Messiaen's 7 Modes of Limited Transportation and US author Dan Simmons' acclaimed, four-novel science fiction series Hyperion Cantos.

A French/American jazz exchange project (in association with the French-American Cultural Exchange and Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation), its overarching melodic frameworks are based on Simmons' literary themes of pilgrimage and the life stories of his prominent characters - hence these varied 'tales' from The Priest, The Soldier, The Poet, The Scholar, The Detective and The Consul, as well as mysterious four-armed, semi-organic creature The Shrike.

Writing for quintet - completed by colleagues Donny McCaslin (tenor saxophone), Michael Janisch (double bass) and Clarence Penn (drums) - Palmer and Hanriot chose to restrict themselves to Messiaen's seven modes, each of which are defined by differently shifting degrees/intervals (though always symmetrical and each sharing the same beginning and ending reference point). Once the melodic structure was in place, Palmer explains, the harmonic and rhythmic content for each of the seven tracks arrived quite easily: "It was quite an exercise in creative periphery, the art of taking in literary work and creating musical work simultaneously."

This recording, captured before a receptive, live audience at London's Pizza Express Jazz Club, expresses all the intended fervor and vigor of this original music and the excitement and freedom emanating from the quintet's sparky invention. To put a musical slant on the words of English philosopher Bertrand Russell, quoted in Dan Simmons' Hyperion: "Language serves not only to express thought but to make possible thoughts which could not exist without it."

Personnel: Cédric Hanriot (piano), Jason Palmer (trumpet), Donny McCaslin (tenor saxophone), Michael Janisch (double & electric bass), Clarence Penn (drums)


  1. Name
  2. The Priest's Tale (Mode II)
  3. The Soldier's Tale (Mode IV)
  4. The Poet's Tale (Intro)
  5. The Poet's Tale (Mode V)
  6. The Scholar's Tale (Mode III)
  7. The Detective's Tale (Intro)
  8. The Detective's Tale (Mode VII)
  9. The Consul's Tale (Mode VI)
  10. The Shrike
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