Trumpeter Jason Palmer’s intriguing new release is the second in his planned “series of homages to singers who have produced powerful music,” which began three years ago with his Minnie Riperton tribute, Take a Little Trip. Wondaland is more contemporary, celebrating the artistry of Janelle Monáe via jazzed-up arrangements of her songs, all but one drawn from the eclectic R&B star’s much-lauded 2010 album, The ArchAndroid.
Palmer isn’t alone among his jazz contemporaries in admiring Monáe. She featured Esperanza Spalding on the track “Dorothy Dandridge Eyes,” from her The Electric Lady, and the theatricality of Spalding’s new Emily’s D+Evolution project, as well as her singing, both suggest Monáe’s influence. But Palmer’s album makes his admiration overt, and he’s joined by an impressive young crew of mostly current or former members of his working band at the venerable Boston club Wally’s Cafe, located just up Massachusetts Avenue from his and their alma mater, Berklee College of Music.