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The Blueprint Project by The Blueprint Project

As I listen again to the Blueprint Project's self titled third CD, I am reminded that the naysayers do indeed know nothing and that the future of jazz is secure in the hands of the new generation of young musicians. The core of Blueprint Project consists of Jared Sims on tenor & soprano saxes, guitarist Eric Hofbauer and Tyson Rogers on piano and they joined on this date by the veteran rhythm team of drummer Matt Wilson and the great bassist Cecil McBee, who surely ranks high on the list of the music's undersung living giants. The eight originals on the album show that the group are not only talented improvisers but interesting composers as well. The group takes a more or less free approach to improvisation but does so in the context of songs that are for the most part well crafted and thought out.

The album opens nicely with Eric Hofbauer's Monkish, bop-derived "The High Priest's Sermon," followed by Tyson Rogers' chromatic-tinged "Until We Have Names." One of the things the Blueprint Project does especially well is to juxtapose different musical idioms in unusual ways. Rogers injects some serialistic runs into Jared Sims' post-bop workout "Monkey." Sims' "The Old County" is played to a tango rhythm, but his soprano sax sounds like a Klezmer clarinet. Rogers' "Abdullah" begins with an elegiac, gospel-tinged piano theme that opens up and builds to a crescendo of collective improvisation a la Prime Time or one of Roscoe Mitchell's Ensembles. Or, dare I say, the Grateful Dead? It's certainly a similar approach to getting lost, and while Hofbauer's playing is free of Garciaisms, his "Bench Carvin'" consists of a 12/8 vamp very similar to the Dead's "The Other One." But, then again, Prime Time may be the best fit after all; his rapid fire and occasionally disjointed picking on "Monkey" recalls Bern Nix.

The players on The Blueprint Project excel as composers as players. The album is full of striking rhythms and harmonic ideas. The groups collective approach to improvisation is a complete success, each player getting opportunities to shine while simultaneously allowing the other players to claim a piece of the spotlight. McBee is the perfect ringer for the group, possessing both the melodic gift to follow the group in its musical flights and the veteran savvy to keep them honest. A tremendous effort from a group with a lot of promise.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: The Blueprint Project
  • CD Title: The Blueprint Project
  • Genre: Free Jazz / Avante Garde
  • Year Released: 2004
  • Record Label: Creative Nation Music
  • Rating: Five Stars
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