‘Central Parker’ feels remote. The piece feels like something you can jog to with your headphones on to block out the City noises and apparent distractions. ‘Central Parker’ does not engage a listener; it does not bemuse, it does not outrage it just sort of moves along at a moderate pace and provides accents to a Central Park experience. ‘13th Street Hummingbird’ is set up in a similar way. But, with the pulsating beat it could easily be a soundtrack to a movie that has not yet been made. It flits down the street scene quickly without pause until it runs out of breath. ‘East Village Buffalo Puppy’ sounds like a Sunday morning waltz with a lover in that neighborhood that sounds simple and tender and sweet. There are hints of Miles Davis’ ‘It’s About Time’ on ‘So Be It’ but it is never as passionate or as clever. One sits up and notices ‘Blues in Orbit’ as it is steeped in the jazz tradition with sharply conceived solos and insistent, frenetic drum workout. This piece shakes off the atmospherics and grabs you by the neck.
NYEP has certainly has promise if they just let themselves unhinge their coolness, and let the music get a little down and dirty, confront the contradictions of the urban street scene and engage in its passion.