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Honey Ear Trio | Swivel

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United States - New York

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Jazz: Weird Jazz Electronic: Acid Jazz Moods: Mood: Quirky
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by Honey Ear Trio

Electro-acoustic jazz music that pushed the traditional Saxophone/Bass/Drums Trio into new territory.
Genre: Jazz: Weird Jazz
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Arby
4:34 $0.99
2. Silent Stairs
6:38 $0.99
3. New Work
4:58 $0.99
4. Evidence
4:14 $0.99
5. Changeling
6:07 $0.99
6. Lullaby
3:43 $0.99
7. Squeaky Toy
3:18 $0.99
8. Stanley's Package
5:31 $0.99
9. Because
4:41 $0.99
10. Speak Eddie
6:01 $0.99
11. Falling
4:47 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
When bassist and composer Rene Hart says that Honey Ear Trio embraces a “high brow-low brow” aesthetic he doesn’t mean that the collective traffics in both the effete and the trashy. Rather, the protean combo makes music that can appeal to seasoned listeners of jazz and improvised music as well as novices who don’t know Charlie Parker from William Parker. “While it’s amazing to play for a room of people that are very knowledgeable about this kind of music, there’s something about connecting and winning over a room of folks who rarely hear music this adventurous, and don’t even know WTF is happening—they just know they like it! That is the real deal.”
On the group’s exciting second album Swivel the combo grabs listeners by the neck with the opening track “Arby,” riding on a muscular, fuzzed-out bass line and a heavy backbeat courtesy of drummer Allison Miller that could momentarily convince listeners that they’ve popped in a CD from a stoner rock band instead of a nimble saxophone trio. Such moments of displacement occur regularly on the recording, as pieces move from purely acoustic, swing-driven passages to thunderous, rock-fueled explosions featuring the impressive looping and pedal-enhanced set-up of Hart. But the music never feels dilettantish or self-conscious, and every opposing passage flows naturally into the next.
Swivel is the trio’s first recording with saxophonist Jeff Lederer—a veteran of the Matt Wilson Quartet and leader of the Brooklyn Blowhards—who replaced founding member Erik Lawrence in 2013. “Jeff is a very physical player and it takes a lot of stamina, power, and energy to be the lead voice in a saxophone trio,” says Miller. “Most of the melodies are his responsibility and he solos the most in the band. We also wanted a reed player with a big sound who could jump into the ‘free with form’ slogan of Honey Ear Trio.”
The avuncular saxophonist already had long musical relationships with Hart and Miller, and he gamely jumped into the fray, adjusting to its methodology on the fly. “This is the first band I have been in during my 25 years in New York City that rehearses—period,” he says. “It took me a while to learn to love rehearsing, but I am warming up to it.”
Miller and Hart formed the group in 2011 with Lawrence, placing the free exchange of ideas at the center of the group’s methodology. The rhythm section first played together back in 1996, and they developed an instant rapport. “Each time we would play after not seeing each other for a while there would be all of these exciting new things that we were into,” says Hart. “There was an element of artistic expansion happening at a similar pace and we have a similar commitment to musical open-mindedness that’s persisted.” The group’s 2011 debut album Steampunk Serenade established the group’s raucous yet refined sound, which found space for swinging post-bop and wildly energetic free blowing within a coherent, logical whole. From the beginning Hart’s modified double bass provided an additional, identifiable wrinkle, using pedals to add distortion and thickness to hisplucked lines and samplers and a looping station to capture live tones and manipulate them into rich ambient textures and countermelodic accents.
In the years since the group’s debut album Hart has mastered his set up, playing with greater control and range. On a track like the cheeky “Squeaky Toy” he occasionally gasses his effect pedals to give his lurching lines a massive depth that fits perfectly with Miller’s most extroverted side, a larger-than-life energy that reminds us of her vast experience touring with pop-rock artists like Ani De Franco and Brandi Carlile. On “2 Silent Stairs” he adds a ghostly beauty via gently looped colors that float in the background, splitting the difference between ominous portent and angelic repose. Sometimes the group enriches its timbre the old-fashioned way, bringing in the remarkable cornetist Kirk Knuffke to join the frontline and solo on several pieces, including Miller’s inspiring “New Work” as well as her moody, gorgeous ballad “Lullaby,” an effort that stems from her recent motherhood.
At other times the combo just relies on conventional tools and vivid imagination. A dazzling take on Monk’s “Evidence” cuts the tune up into discreet episodes, with Miller controlling the ever-shifting tempos and dynamic vibe, while the ferociously swinging “Speak Eddie,” written by the drummer in honor of Bay Area percussionist Eddie Marshall, simply trusts in a good melody and a driving energy, with especially potent solos from Lederer and Knuffke.
All three members of the group pass praise around and embrace developing material together. “This is a true collective,” asserts Miller. “I have had collective bands in the past, but never any that lasted—this one is sticking around. This band is all about honoring tradition while simultaneously questioning it. We are all about motion and forward movement. We are a muscular trio.” Muscle, with a taste of honey.



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