With an ear aimed firmly toward the underground, Earprint is a four-part chordless creative collective who make music that is at least nominally for listening. Though they’re not out to save the world, or even modern jazz, they aim to at least turn a head or two with their aggressively melodic, shamelessly youthful approach.
A chordless quartet—free of the confines of piano or guitar—has a uniquely open, stripped-down sound, perhaps most often associated with Ornette Coleman’s quartets or the Gerry Mulligan/Chet Baker group of the early 1950s. Earprint draws plenty from these touchstones, but their influences range across the chordless canon, paying homage to the likes of Steve Coleman, Happy Apple, and Dave Holland.
Earprint were born at Boston’s illustrious New England Conservatory, but their roots spread worldwide: saxophonist Kevin Sun is a Garden State native, while trumpeter Tree Palmedo emerged from the endless drizzle of the Pacific Northwest. Bassist Simón Willson swapped hemispheres to join the band—he’s from Santiago, Chile—and Israeli drummer Dor Herskovits crossed an ocean. To the surprise of all involved, four wildly different visions crystallized, merging burning swing, knotty grooves, and anthemic themes into a spare sort of kitchen-sink minimalism.
After a series of intimate gigs at spaces like Shapeshifter Lab (Brooklyn, NY), the Lilypad (Cambridge, MA) and the Harvard Advocate (Cambridge, MA), Earprint entered the studio in the spring of 2016 to record their debut full-length album, Earprint. The collection of 11 original pieces, released in late October 2016, demonstrates the ethos of the band: historically influenced and so familiar, but bizarre enough to blow your mind.