The second of Jon Batiste's recordings to emerge from his November 2018 residency at New York's Village Vanguard, Chronology of a Dream: Live at the Village Vanguard is a vibrant set showcasing the keyboardist and his earthy ensemble. As with 2019's Anatomy of Angels, Chronology of a Dream highlights Batiste's jazz roots with a set of primarily original songs that find him drawing upon funky, '60s- and '70s-style hard bop and soul. Joining him in his group are a cadre of adept, high-energy players including drummer Joe Saylor, bassist Phil Kuehn, percussionist Negan Santos, trumpeter Giveton Gelin, saxophonists Tivon Pennicott and Patrick Bartley, tubist/trumpeter Jon Lampley, and guitarist Louis Cato, all of whom get moments to shine here. With his rise into the national spotlight leading his band Stay Human on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, it's sometimes easy to forget that Batiste has hardcore jazz credentials. A New Orleans native, Batiste grew up alongside Trombone Shorty and toured early on in his career with luminaries like Wynton Marsalis, Louis Hayes, and Roy Hargrove, the latter of whom died tragically at age 49 on November 2, 2018, which was the first day of these recordings. Consequently, Hargove's passing colors all of Chronology of Dream. Batiste, who played in both Hargove's acoustic quintet and his genre-bending funk and hip-hop band RH Factor, explicitly pays homage to his former bandleader on an emotive version of Hargove's "Soulful" and with the inclusion of a recording of Hargove speaking on the closer, "Ordr." Elsewhere, Batiste leads his group through an equally inspired batch of original songs, including the buoyant, mid-tempo funk opener "Blacck," the Horace Silver-esque "Higher," and the R&B-meets-brass-band groover "Birthe." He also brings the raucous, enthusiastic crowd to their feet with his boogie-woogie solo piano number "Kenner," named after his hometown. Chronology of a Dream is a spirited live album that captures Batiste's uplifting vibe and makes you feel like you were there in the moment.
AllMusic Review by Matt Collar