All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

346

Honey Ear Trio: Steampunk Serenade

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
Building on an established legacy, Honey Ear Trio updates the time honored acoustic instrumentation of the classic saxophone trio with a subtle use of electronics on their debut Steampunk Serenade. Saxophonist Erik Lawrence, bassist Rene Hart and drummer Allison Miller draw upon their diverse experiences in an array of popular music forms (rock, soul, folk) to inform an accessible yet adventurous series of modern jazz variations.

Challenging the conventions of structure and form, they treat time signatures, tempos and rhythmic accents with the same easygoing flair as melody, harmony and texture. The trio's close-knit interplay is intensified by a longstanding rapport gleaned as members of one another's projects; each artist's personal history influences the date's wide-ranging aesthetic to varying degrees, with Lawrence and Hart splitting writing duties for most of the session's original tunes.

Expanding the trio's palette with an arsenal of horns, Lawrence employs a variety of saxophones, from soprano to baritone. His role as longstanding member of Levon Helm's band can be heard in the bluesy outpourings of "Matter Of Time" while his pivotal sideman gigs with Sonny Sharrock are readily apparent in the Albert Ayler-esque squalls he elicits on "Olney 60/30," Miller's sole compositional contribution to the date—a thunderous Sabbath-inflected rocker underscored by Hart's droning, distorted bass lines.

Offering far more than just straight ahead accompaniment, Hart's occasional augmentation of his upright bass with loops and delays adds atmosphere to tunes like "Window Seat Nostalgia." In more conventional settings his traditional chops come into play, such as the swinging patterns that fuel Lisa Parrott's Thelonious Monkish "Six Nettes," whereas his more pop-oriented experiences suffuse the waltz-time melody of the title track with bittersweet harmony.

A rising presence on the scene, Miller boasts an assortment of professional relationships, ranging from pop superstars like Ani DiFranco and Natalie Merchant to avant-garde jazz legends like Marty Ehrlich and Myra Melford. A versatile performer with an original approach for every situation, her crisp, quicksilver volleys and spry rhythm changes on "Luminesque" reveals her impeccable timing and dramatic physicality. The nuanced call-and-response she shares with Lawrence on the visceral "Beautiful Nightmare" calls upon a slightly different skill set—that of a keen listener and fearless explorer.

Ranging from a surreal reading of "Over The Rainbow," complete with backwards looped melody lines, to the subtly amplified ardor of "High Water," Honey Ear Trio expertly details the various avenues available to a modern electro-acoustic saxophone trio. A tasteful and dynamic program executed by a group of seasoned performers, Steampunk Serenade perfectly exemplifies the "past meets future" ethos espoused by its title.

Track Listing: Matter Of Time; Olney 60/30; Steampunk Serenade; Whistle Stop; High Water; Six Nettes; Over The Rainbow; Luminesque; Beautiful Nightmare; Weight Of Action; Eyjafjallajokull (Icelandic Volcano Hymn); Collide-O-Scope; Window Seat Nostalgia.

Personnel: Erik Lawrence: tenor, baritone, alto and soprano saxophones; Rene Hart: acoustic bass, electronics/looping; Allison Miller: drums, percussion.

Title: Steampunk Serenade | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Foxhaven Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Origins CD/LP/Track Review
Origins
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Bright Force CD/LP/Track Review
Bright Force
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Say It CD/LP/Track Review
Say It
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Alchemia Garden CD/LP/Track Review
Alchemia Garden
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Don't You Wish CD/LP/Track Review
Don't You Wish
by Dr. Judith Schlesinger
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Making Other Arrangements CD/LP/Track Review
Making Other Arrangements
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 19, 2018
Read "Kami Fusen" CD/LP/Track Review Kami Fusen
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 23, 2017
Read "Brass Mask Live" CD/LP/Track Review Brass Mask Live
by Duncan Heining
Published: May 1, 2017
Read "La Terza Via" CD/LP/Track Review La Terza Via
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: February 9, 2018
Read "Jeg roper til deg" CD/LP/Track Review Jeg roper til deg
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 7, 2017
Read "Simiskina" CD/LP/Track Review Simiskina
by John Sharpe
Published: December 26, 2017
Read "Food Foragers" CD/LP/Track Review Food Foragers
by Don Phipps
Published: March 13, 2018