Matt Penman – Good Question

The Music

The Words

Modern jazz, with its emphasis on rhythm, above harmony or melody, has swiftly become one of my favourite and most sought-after subgenres of jazz music. I believe this was kickstarted in me by the amazing group Ikarus, which commonly uses various metres against one another to great effect. Today’s subject follows that train of thought on Good Question.

As a starting point, the first track starts off with what sounds like a \(\frac{13}{16}\) melody over \(\frac{13}{8}\) chords. While these two voices resolve every two measures, it’s interesting to hear and a bit jarring at first, since 13 is not a recurring number in most music. So you perhaps think it’s in 7 at first, before doubting yourself and resorting to counting aloud while tapping the table with your fingers to be absolutely sure of the beat you’re hearing. So, that’s the first track–absolutely gorgeous–, but the other ones on record are more subtle in their rhythmic idiosyncrasies.

However, rhythm wasn’t the main focus of Good Question, but rather part of it. Each song here is handcrafted to specific questions, and therefore provide different and specific answers. Through horizontal and vertical experimentation, Matt Penman created a great album to be heard and decorticated. Hopefully having some fun while doing so!

The Link


The Recs

Kami Octet