Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Darryl Harper: The Edenfred Files

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.

For all the freedom from tradition contemporary clarinetists have gained, they frequently make it or break it artistically based on the quality of their sound. But as strong a player as Darryl Harper is, the most striking and appealing thing about his music is its conceptual rigging. An active intellect drives The Edenfred Files, a collection of precisely calibrated tunes-multi-part adventures, really-that never fail to entrance.

Most of them are performed by Philly native Harper’s long-running Onus Trio, featuring bassist Matthew Parrish and drummer Butch Reed. The group handles serial thematic shifts deftly, moving from sustained warning tones to child’s melody to earthy lament on “Sirens Calling,” and, on Julius Hemphill’s “Kansas City Line,” offering a jaunty, puzzle-like reworking of traditional blues. The melody ebbs and flows over Reed’s coiled strokes, one example of the different drum tunings and bass sounds that are employed on different cuts. (Parrish gets ample opportunity to strut his stuff.)

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published