Earprint's second album follows the template laid down by its first: relatively short tracks that concentrate a bevy of ideas into energetic four to six minute bursts. Trumpeter Tree Palmedo and saxophonist Kevin Sun bounce off each other's lines with precision and style while bassist Simón Willson and drummer Dor Herskovits provide a sizzling underbed of rhythm. With this instrumentation, comparisons to the original Ornette Coleman quartet are inevitable but this group feels more relaxed and friendly. Sixty years on, the once-shocking sound of Coleman's band has become one of the norms in jazz and Earprint is in the position of finding fresh things to say in a well-established language instead of blazing new trails.
All the tunes here are frisky and uninhibited. "Don't Look at the Pot" has the most Coleman similarities. The horns step lightly through a throbbing bass line, then Palmedo takes off, bubbling like Don Cherry, over a fierce walking rhythm. After his solo, Sun hits a blaring, high screech that scours everything around it before going on his own high-speed tear. On "Big Bear" the horns climb and crackle in unison over strutting drums before dividing into complementary solo lines. "Tu" has the horns first swaying through a calypso melody, then Herskovits noisily drops beats while Sun and Palmedo take turns singing with forceful swagger. "Volume" begins as a graceful trumpet lament. Then Sun joins in as the tempo picks up and goes into his own solo serenade as the drummer dances around his cymbals. The horns continue to trade brash solos as the tempo slowly increases and the rhythm mutates into a stomping hip hop beat.
There are quieter moments on the CD as well. On "Gallimaufry," Palmedo and Sun, playing clarinet, have an active but quiet dialogue against tense, forceful rhythms. On "Hey Wanna Dance," the bass and drums simmer at a low flame while the horns blow small and cool above them. "Silo" brings the shade of Philip Glass into the mix with the horns repeating short, stabbing phrases while the pizzicato bass line flows and the drums strike noisy accents. "Easy Listening" has the entire group playing with a slippery swagger and Sun even injecting a bit of soul into his soloing.
Earprint has a talent for blending wild, experimental playing with strong melodic and rhythmic elements that makes its music accessible no matter how wild the individual players can sound. It is a tight, focused unit that sees no problem in maintaining a good groove and shrieking to the heavens at the same time.
Sink Song; Volume; Suchness; Don't Look at the Pot; Gallimaufry; Hey Wanna Dance; Toupee; Big Bear; Silo;
Easy Listening; Tu.
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