Yesterday’s Man is the third album by D.C.’s Saltman Knowles,the latest stop on the group’s neverending quest for melody and hooks. This time, pianist William Knowles and bassist Mark Saltman lead an unusual octet that features a steel pan drummer (Victor Provost). Adventures in instrumentation aside, Yesterday’s Man is the slickest Saltman Knowles production yet. More importantly, though, it’s a tour de force for singer Lori Williams-Chisholm, the band’s only constant besides its namesakes. As always, her joy in singing is unshakable, even on less-than-joyful tunes like “They Don’t Really Care for Us,” but her silken delivery and exceptional timing make up a lot of that ground and help convey the darker moods. Better still are her scatting and improvisations on “Blues for Sale” and “08 Bossa,” among others, where a remarkable talent for rhythmic sounds and melodic variation come through. Yesterday’s Man is a worthy document of one of the District’s most consistently high-quality ensembles.
Also: Nothing official yet, but if history is an indicator, you can expect a CD release gig or two at HR-57 in the very near future.