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"Earprint extends the jazz traditions while at the same time working them into hip, freewheeling new shapes"
Earprint follows the pattern laid down by several newer jazz groups in the last few years. They do short, pithy songs in the four to six minute range, sue [sic] choppy rhythms which draw a lot from rock and hip hop and construct intricate, slightly tongue-in-cheek melodies. This concept allows them to explore a large swath of musical ideas from their quartet configuration.
You hear this in the creeping, twisty clarinet and trumpet interplay of "Boardroom," the funky beat and wailing horns of "School Days and the hip hop swagger of "Golden Girder Strikes Again." The rhythm section of Kevin [sic] Willson and Dov [sic] Herskovits often sets the pace. On "The Holy Quiet" they murmur and rustle while Tree Palmedo and Kevin Sun hold long notes above them and on "Malingerer" they set a lively, rolling backdrop for the horns to come swaying in with long, intense phrases.
"Colonel" is powered by a staccato quasi-Caribbean rhythm that allows Sun and Palmedo to dart and dodge like Ornette Coleman and Don Cherry and "Anthem" is a lively mix of shifting tempos and moods with occasional resemblance to Charles Mingus compositions like "Jelly Roll."
All of these eclectic tunes wouldn't sound so good if the four musicians didn't work so well together. Palmedo is a roaring, nimble trumpet player and Kevin Sun is a full-throated, rapturous tenor man. Meanwhile Simon Willson maintains a strong bass pulse and Herskovits' brash, explosive drumming provides tension and drive for the entire band. Like the best of the younger groups, Earprint extends the jazz traditions while at the same time working them into hip, freewheeling new shapes. This debut recording captures a lot of the energy and sense of possibility of modern jazz.