Adding drummer Han Bennink to a recording with an established group is like inviting a seven year old into your china shop after he has downed a couple of Red Bulls. Both are impossible to ignore, and you know your world will be changed forever.
This is The Blueprint Project's second official release, fourth if you count their prior unnamed collaborations. The trio consisting of Jared Sims(reeds), Eric Hofbauer(guitar), and Tyson Rogers(piano) met at Boston's New England Conservatory and have been playing together ever since. This disc follows their 2003 self-titled session with invited guests Cecil McBee and Matt Wilson. A master of creative percussive work, Wilson operates within conventional frameworks that Bennink has long ago left behind.
The sixty-something Dutch percussionist, Bennink, is best known for his work with pianist Misha Mengelberg, the ICP Orchestra, and saxophonist Peter Brotzmann. Perhaps his finest moments have been in the small group settings with the Clusone Trio, and the bands of Tobias Delius and Eric Boeren. In these settings (like here) he propels the music and musicians in new and unique directions.
The disc opens with Eric Hofbauer's "The Holly Stomp and closes with a ballad by Jared Sims. Bennink has a signature style that is very unsubtle yet delicate. He prefers a sort of 'old timey' sound with an emphasis on disorder and his hosts are willing participants. When Sims takes up the clarinet on "Ruby, I Think You're My Third Favorite the dance begins in Horace Silver-town, and takes a short drive to Thelonious Monk-land, with Harry Carney as your bus driver. Naturally the Tyson Rogers' track "Herbie Nichols is well within Bennink's wheel house, having been a favorite composer for he and Mengelberg to explore. The pianist also is quite adept at the jaunty hopping sounds. The Blueprint boys have updated the quirkiness of Nichols while retaining his flavor.
Bennink is more than willing to follow Sim's saxophone tribute to all things Sonny Rollins-Caribbean on "Captain Salvy Sets Sail and the tenor saxophonist plays a bit over-the-top to the high-hat work of Bennink. With all of the drummer's theatrics, it is easy to miss the outstanding musicianship of the trio. Besides the original music provided, the very quick-wit response they have to the forcefulness of Bennink is impressive. By the time they settle into "Nu Noon At Yoshi's, the ending piece here, they have exhausted all possibilities. Bennink plays a caffeinated accompaniment to this gripping ballad.
Personnel: Jared Sims: alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, clarinet; Eric Hofbauer: guitar; Tyson Rogers: piano; Han Bennink: drums.