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Jazz: Jive Avant Garde: Sound Art Moods: Mood: Party Music
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Great On Paper

by Great On Paper

After years spent rehearsing in the Boston tundra, GOP decided it was now or never—hence, this album, which, at just under 40 minutes over six tracks, occupies the interstitial space between E.P. and album with characteristic millennial semicommittedness.
Genre: Jazz: Jive
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Winnings
6:27 $1.29
2. O Sacrum Convivium
4:17 album only
3. Negative Bird
3:44 $0.99
4. Slimy Toboggan
4:28 $0.99
5. Torsion
7:03 $1.29
6. I Hear a Rhapsody
10:24 album only
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
GREAT ON PAPER (2016, Endectomorph Music)

"A young post-bop collective well equipped with knowledge both in and out of the canon" – The New York Times​

Liner notes by Ethan Iverson

So, what are the young cats up to these days? Great On Paper gives a valuable indication. Everyone in the band has studied all sorts of jazz music and can essentially play anything they want. The results are just as diverse as shuffling through anybody’s iPod. Contemporary challenges and solutions…

It’s their first record, and you can hear it. But Woody Shaw said somewhere, “Make your first record as soon as possible, so you can get it out of the way.” That might not be ideal advice for everybody—one should be at least competent before going into the studio—but truly there is no other way to grow than by producing product. When I made my first record, School Work, in 1991, it taught me a lot. I got my then-teacher Jim McNeely to write the liner notes, which is one reason I agreed to contribute a few words here, especially since I have played with everybody on this date except the pianist.

* * * * *


At the top, the first thought is ’70s ECM, with floating melody, bass pedal points, and fast ride cymbal. There’s a bit more angularity than expected: Does the early Tony Williams masterpiece Spring, with Wayne Shorter and Sam Rivers, also lurk in the background? When improvising, Sun’s meaty and decisive perspective contrasts with Wilson’s experimental pianism. Baytas has a lovely touch, and I dig how his ride cymbal and Willson’s firm beat can go in and out of phase with each other. Freedom and control.


Covering classical music is definitely becoming a thing. Messiaen is a favorite of many modern musicians, and this pretty religious chorale has plenty of chords recognized by any jazz player. A rather pointillistic interpretation opens up the sentiment to further infinity.


Sun describes this as “Steve Coleman changes on Bird’s ‘Blues for Alice.’” Coleman’s influence on the contemporary scene is profound. In this instance these musicians deal with just a kind of Coleman harmonic angle while straight-up swinging and searching for new improvised melody. Wilson launches his blues choruses with fifths going up from a low tonic. H’mm. I might steal that myself.


Seems like it’s going to be a swinger before settling into the most deconstructed music of the date. Composer Willson is a serious bassist with all the right influences; at this juncture he is coming most out of Ben Street and Thomas Morgan.


Nice heraldic melody over complex chords, a bit like something by Kenny Wheeler. This is real modern jazz, with open eighths and swirling mixed meter. The composer Wilson navigates this hard form with real ease. His big assist comes from the smooth and dynamic flow of Baytas.


As is the case for so many record dates, a standard form allows for the most open and creative blowing of the session. Sun evokes Sonny Rollins before the band comes in, and at one point Wilson leaps into an exciting two-handed contrapuntal shout that suggests Fred Hersch. When he wants to, Sun has immaculate command of traditional jazz language, so it’s a nice surprise to hear the subversive harmonic angles in his solo here. Baytas’s turn honors the earliest trap set musicians by focusing on the high-hat. The out chorus is quite wild and exciting.

* * * * *
There’s no doubt that Great On Paper is just getting started; I’m looking forward to their next steps.

— e.i.
July 2015

* * * * *

Recorded by Lim Wei at Sear Sound, New York, NY on March 7, 2015 - Mixed by Lim Wei - Mastered by Rishi Daftuar - Produced by Robin Baytas, Kevin Sun, Simón Willson, Isaac Wilson - Executive produced by Kevin Sun - Design and artwork by Diane Zhou



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