The Blueprint Project with Han Bennink

People I Like
Creative Nation Music 008

Anarchistic Dutch drummer Han Bennink, who would rather pummel a beat with body English than finesse it without histrionics, brings his rhythmic strength to Boston-based trio, The Blueprint Project on this fine CD.

Perpetually in motion with ruffs, taps, flams, paradiddles or bounces, the veteran drummer’s precise and swinging pulse enlivens the nine band member-penned originals. They hold their own as well, with chugging downstrokes and intricate finger-style string snaps from guitarist Eric Hofbauer, just-in-time comping or key clipping from pianist Tyson Rogers and the output of Jared Sims, which encompasses supple clarinet trills as frequently as tenor saxophone honks.

Not adverse to good-timey melodies, driven by Bennink’s sand dancer-like brush strokes and unison guitar-saxophone licks, the band is made up of jazzmen as knowledgeable as Bennink. While “Ruby, I Think You’re My Third Favorite”, may not be Thelonious Monk’s “Ruby My Dear”, his quirky inflections are apparent throughout. Advanced boppers, pianist Herbie Nichols on the tune of the same name, and saxophonist Jackie McLean on “Jac-Mac Talkin’” are also name-checked; albeit in performances several degrees lighter and looser than those written and played by the mercurial honorees.

Devices as different as Latin rhythms, extended stop-time and contrapuntal tempos are used on faster numbers. Yet the trio proves its sophistication by investing the set’s one ballad, “Nu Noon at Yoshi’s” with lilting and legitimate emotional resonance – all of which stays intact despite the nerve beat, rim shots and cymbal crashes from the invited guest.

— Ken Waxman

— For Whole Note Vol. 13 #2