114 Recommend It! 1,576 views

Honey Ear Trio - Steampunk Serenade (Foxhaven Records, 2011) ****

SOURCE: Published: 2011-04-22
Honey Ear Trio By Paul Acquaro

The Steampunk literary genre essentially imagines a present informed by Victorian sensibilities and driven by steam technology. Imagine though, just for a moment, another alternate present in which popular music is not shaped by lowest common denominator tastes and gobs of derivative schmear. What do you hear? For me, the top forty slots are pretty much dominated by groups like the Honey Ear Trio.

The trio, sax, drum and bass, with some electronics and effects for added dimension, runs the gamut of styles and influences as they assemble their own vision for today's music. They can be convincingly tender, as on the retelling of 'Over the Rainbow' and quite tough, like in the inspired rock tune 'Olney 60/30.' Dark pop sensibilities shade the tunes, especially the title tune, and all of the arrangements embrace free improvisation. The songs are carefully arranged but minimally constructed, leaving the players, like saxophonist Erik Lawrence, the room to develop some excellent solos.

Bassist Rene Hart and drummer Allison Miller provide thick melodic and harmonic counterpoint. The rhythm section compliments and contrasts the horn as this tight knit trio works together delightfully to create tunes that draw on free jazz, bebop, and rock. 'Six Netted' is not that unlike something from Ornette Coleman's catalog and the aforementioned 'Over the Rainbow' recalls ephemeral Frisell like textures.

The majestic yet forlorn 'Eyjafjallajokull (Icelandic Volcano Hymn)' is an ode to the eruption that snarled air traffic throughout Europe and linguistically challenged American newscasters, and it's a highlight. The drums rumble, the bass has gravitas and the sax is majestic. It is a theme that evokes sweeping panoramas of desolate windswept expanses and smoldering craters.

'Steampunk Seranade,' the debut album of this New York based trio is an accessible effort that successfully draws on genres past and present as well as American and European idioms to create its own vision of modern jazz. Recommended to all who enjoy any kind of music at all.

Available through eMusic, iTunes, Bandcamp.


View the original article...

This story appears courtesy of Free Jazz by Stef Gijssels.
Copyright © 2014. All rights reserved.
comments powered by Disqus
Read the All About Jazz Magazine - Free!

Read the All About Jazz Magazine - It's free!

Jam-packed with 100 pages covering a wide range of styles, subjects and from around the world—each issue includes interviews, profiles, columns, album reviews, web site news, and free MP3s. The AAJ magazine is available across all devices, can be shared socially, and opened from anywhere without the need to download an app.

Read the Winter 2014 Edition

Weekly Giveaways

Matthew Shipp

Matthew Shipp
About | Enter

Matt Ridley

Matt Ridley
About | Enter

Tord Gustavsen

Tord Gustavsen
About | Enter

Alfredo Rodriguez

Alfredo Rodriguez
About | Enter