Jon Batiste, Chronology of a Dream – Live at the Village Vanguard (Verve)

Chronology of a Dream represents the second installment of pianist/vocalist/composer Jon Batiste captured live in the fall of 2018 during his residency at New York’s famed Village Vanguard. Though the setting and band are the same as the earlier release, Anatomy of Angels, this boasts its own vibe. It’s almost as if Batiste, who produced the album, decided to save the more raucous “party time” cuts for this disc. 

It opens with one of seven tunes from Batiste’s pen, the funky and fun “BLACCK” on which he does his own lively, soulful style of scatting. Tenor saxophonist Tivon Pennicott gets the very vocal crowd riled up as they cheer him on. 

The havin’ a good time spirit continues on “PWWR” with Batiste really shining the light on his roots with his distinctively New Orleans piano style as well as his love of the city and the Saints-singing, “When dey say da who dat! Who dat!” folks are clapping to the beat on this tune which, like many of the other cuts, comes in at that magic three to four minute mark. Batiste continues in the Crescent City mode on the boogie-woogie tribute to his hometown of Kenner, Louisiana and shows off his abilities as a powerful two-handed player. 

Batiste and the music become more serene as he introduces the recently departed trumpeter Roy Hargrove’s composition, the lovely, “SOULFUL.” He explains that the first time he played with Hargrove was ten years ago and it was also the first time he performed at the Vanguard. The thoughtful trumpet solo here helps define the love and regard for its composer. 

The album’s final cut, “ORDR,” takes off with more intensity and a Latin tinge. Batiste plays strong block chords against Negah Santos’ compelling congas. 

Batiste’s warm personality and the audience’s interaction on the beautifully recorded Chronology of a Dream welcomes listeners to the party.