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  • Writer's pictureJAM

E.E. Pointer: Incomplete Fool

Updated: Jun 30, 2023

Kansas City area trumpeter and composer E.E. Pointer has done it again, offered up a very personal, meditative album, quiet but present, and thoughtful in every way.

INCOMPLETE FOOL opens with strong, long, full, trumpet notes. It is spacious, trumpet and nothing else. “Hermanos,” a tune reminiscent of late decade Miles, opens the album. It is a tune that then gets busy with something like electronic log drum, then full drum set: the stick-hit closed hi-hat tick-tick-ticking two against three. It grooves--and in a very contemporary way. And Pointer takes his time, stretches. Here is a musician who embraces space.

Unlike with River Cow Orchestra, which Pointer steers, none of these tunes are quite as frenetic and busy. This is not aleatoric music of the moment, but something else: more meditation, prayer.

Overall, much of the album is reflective, inward, and trance-like. Although it grooves, the album also serves as a thought vehicle. You can spin the album disc, turn out the lights, and think. Subdued, like whale song, the album is otherworldly, subterranean--cool and smooth, but not drowsy. It is carefully provocative. One song is aptly titled “The Mythos of Whales.”

Folksy and intimately personal, quiet, one of the known tunes on the album is a solo piano version of “Shenandoah” and reminds of the Keith Jarrett version--so full of heart, so slow and mindful. Likely, this is the album’s only tune that is not an original, not one of E.E.’s new tunes.

These seem to be songs from a man who does not fear being alone. He embraces silences. He’s ok being quiet. There is never that rush-hour push racing these notes, but instead, the pace of a long, long walk.

“Portals” begins with glimmers and electronic splashes, like in a Star Trek song and then goes spoken word, E.E. reflecting on a spacey, Beat Kansas City-city night in an Uber. A little like the movie LULU ON THE BRIDGE or Sun Ra’s SPACE IS THE PLACE, jazz and space travel converge in the music and lyrics.

Zappa-like, Pointer merges music and cleverly ribald lyrics, but whereas Zappa seems overly pleased with his clever conceits, Pointer seems to wander into late-night Beat revelation: a diner, city lights, pie.

Everything has magic.

This is an album of a KC jazz musician who has fully come into his own. He does not rush, not a note, not a phrase, not a song. A prolific composer, I find we are better for his tunes. Diary-like experiments, they land like musical kaons. Dream; think; enjoy.

—Kevin Rabas

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