How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
I've always appreciated the care and attention given to album/CD cover art in the jazz genre. The cover for The Blueprint Project is especially appealing, with a rectangular blue/black/grey design reminiscent of some of the old Blue Note recordings. The music here, too, has a geometric feel to it; though it's not square; it's more like the non-parallelogram shapes of clean-edged gemstone facets, sounds that bump and bend new non-ninety degree angles into basic mainstream geometries.
The Blueprint Project is Jared Sims (tenor and soprano saxophones), Eric Hofbauer (guitar), and Tyson Rogers (piano), joined on this, their third CD outing, by bassist Cecil McBee and drummer Matt Wilson. The core trio plays with a sharp angularityMonkish on "The High Priest's Sermon"with guitar and piano dancing a hyperactive, stepping-on-cut-glass jitterbug as they weave in and out of each others notes behind the sharp and incisive tenor out front; while "Molecular Mischief" has a more amorphous structure, a dark, free-ish wandering with lots of sharp notes stabbing up to the surface.
The addition of this particular bass/drum duo pays off for the trio. Cecil McBee (Pharoah Sanders, Abdullah Ibrahim) sets up a solid, heavy-bodied swing behind the frontmen; and Matt Wilson, who seems to be recording with everyone these days (including Fred Hess, Lee Konitz, Dewey Redman, Frank Kimbrough), as well as putting out his own first-rate sets as a leader, lays down a delicate textural backdrop alongside his solid timekeeping behind the flash and zing of the guitar/sax/piano.
There are no low points; it's a consistently strong outing top to bottom, and it keeps you a bit off-balance, in the best sense of the word. But I'll pick a highlight anyway: the Tyson Rogers-penned "Abdullah," with its South African lilt behind the contained-but-still-searing tenor sax.
Track Listing: The High Priest's Sermon, Until We Have Names, Abdullah, Bench Cravin', The Old Country, Molecular Michief, Monkey, Dead Mouse Blues
Personnel: Jared Sims--tenor and soprano saxes; Eric Hofbauer--guitar; Tyson Rogers--piano; Cecil McBee--bass; Matt Wilson--drums