Violinist Jenny Scheinman and drummer Allison Miller, two of modern jazz’s most accomplished artists, team up on the new album Parlour Game (Royal Potato Family), which also includes Carmen Staaf on piano and Tony Scherr on bass.
“116th & Congress,” whose title is a tribute to the diversity currently present in our country’s chief legislative body, fuses a driving jazz groove with peals of rootsy, Americana-style violin. Its energy brings to mind the Pat Metheney Group’s 1989 album Letter From Home, swapping that record’s slightly new age-y evocation of sweeping Brazilian plateaus for a more traditionally jazzy flyover of the American heartland by way of Brooklyn. While Staaf’s light, airy playing might resemble Lyle Mays’ when her chords float underneath Scheinman’s violin like cirrostratus clouds beneath the sun, she really comes into her own during an acrobatic solo that feels weightless despite being densely packed with scales and runs. “116th & Congress” is imbued with a joyous liveliness that makes you want to get up and move, although you’re not sure whether you should throw on a tux or a pair of overalls for the occasion.