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Honey Ear Trio: Steampunk Serenade

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Saxophonist Erik Lawrence, a member of Steven Bernstein’s Millennial Territory Orchestra and a longtime horn section player in Levon Helm’s band, joins bassist Rene Hart and drummer Allison Miller on this daring cooperative outing. Their remarkable chemistry in this extremely elastic acoustic trio setting is further enhanced by Hart’s creative use of electronics.

The delicate rubato opener, “Matter of Time,” could easily have been called “Matter of No Time”: Miller sets the tone with her freewheeling instincts beneath Lawrence’s robust tenor lines, while Hart plays sparsely and contrapuntally on bass. “Olney 60/30” opens with a burst of urgent free jazz, with Lawrence blowing forcefully in the high register as Miller bashes behind him. The piece settles into hard-rockish mode with double-bassist Hart kicking on a distortion pedal and emulating Hugh Hopper as Miller delivers big backbeats with muscular authority.

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