Pin It

CD Review: Honey Ear Trio 

Honey Ear Trio
Steampunk Serenade
(2011, Foxhaven Records)

During a recent radio interview, world-renowned jazz festival and concert promoter George Wein said that when he receives releases with all original compositions, he doesn’t listen to them. Really? How perplexing that someone who professes to revere artistry would pay short shrift to artists who also compose. And the members of Honey Ear Trio—saxophonist Erik Lawrence (Levon Helm Band), bassist Rene Hart (James Hunter, Julian Priester), and drummer Allison Miller (Natalie Merchant, Dr. Lonnie Smith)—are definitely skilled composers as well as artists. After being brought together for a month by fate (the volcanic eruption in Iceland last year), the three New York friends laid down 13 tracks; all but one are originals (so maybe Wein would listen at least to that tune).

The mix of casual banter on “Matter of Time” with the throw-down of “Olney 60/30” exemplifies Honey Ear’s masterful interplay and cut-to-the-quick, focused playing. The seductively swank “High Water,” the clamorous “Beautiful Nightmare,” and the maudlin “Window Seat Nostalgia” feature Hudson Valley fixture Lawrence’s air-dried sound. Groovy is the title tune, with electronics by Hart, who also employs looping during his solo on the standard in question, “Over the Rainbow,” a song that never seems to wear around the edges. Miller keeps her eyes on the prizes before her, sensing where to fill in the nooks and crannies of a piece. She’s so good. A recommendation to Wein: Hold standards up to the light, but don’t block the light with them—or you may miss Steampunk Serenade.
click to enlarge music_honey-ear-trio-cd.gif

Speaking of...

  • Cheryl K. Symister-Masterson reviews Honey Ear Trio's album "Steampunk Serenade."


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

Hudson Valley Events

submit event

Latest in Music

Related to Music

  • Opera in Phoenicia Park
  • Opera in Phoenicia Park

    With its open-air format, where attendees picnic in the parks and watch the stars emerge during performances, and its $5 youth tickets, the Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice is the perfect place to share with children a love of music and theater, in a variety of styles.
    • Jul 25, 2016
  • More »

More by Cheryl K. Symister-Masterson

  • CD Review: Michelle LeBlanc

    Cheryl K. Symister-Masterson reviews Michelle LeBlanc's album "I Remember You"
    • Nov 30, 2011
  • CD Review: David Rothenberg and Lewis Porter

    Cheryl K. Symister-Masterson reviews David Rothenberg and Lewis Porter's new album "Expulsion of the Triumphant Beast."
    • Oct 28, 2011
  • CD Review: Michael Bisio

    Cheryl K. Symister-Masterson reviews Michael Bisio's first solo release.
    • Sep 28, 2011
  • More »

Hudson Valley Tweets