Enrique Haneine, Unlayered Review
by Nolan DeBuke
In 2016 we had the pleasure of reviewing drummer and pianist Enrique Haneine’s album Instants of Time. In 2020, the release of his latest offering, Unlayered, Haneine, has composed a series of meaningful compositions highlighting the versatile textural layers his music has to offer. On Unlayered, Haneine is joined by Thomas Heberer on trumpet with Catherine Sikora on tenor and soprano saxophones. Christof Knoche on bass clarinet, the indelible Jay Anderson on acoustic bass, and of course, Haneine on drums, cymbals, udu drum, and tambourine.
Haneine was born in Mexico City and is of Lebanese descent. It is the influence of his youth and the journey of becoming a musician that has influenced his incredibly creative and uniquely positioned jazz style. Haneine is a respected pianist and began his career on this principle instrument. His versatility and thirst for creativity have positioned him as one of the most improvisationally founded drummers in modern jazz. He freely connects the dots of jazz, Latin, and Lebanese traditions, linking the rich heritage of the Cedars of Lebanon, through the open lines of the cherished Latin exoticness to the melting-pot of New York City.
“Behind the Missing Whisper,” is an evocative listen with elongated tones that weave together in an aromatic fragrance of mystic. “Luculent Jiggle,” is what we expect from Hanine’s releases, unabandoned improvisation, with pellucidly fierce melodies. “Queen of the Underground” transports the listener to the streets of New York City, with its winding melody that glissando’s over Haneine’s active rhythmic textualization. Knoche adds a dark honeyed tone of artistic choices, while Heberer’s muted trumpet adds an extrinsic allure. “Illustrious Bickering” once again employs Knoche’s gorgeous bass clarinet tone, as Sikora hues the composition with a reflective mood.
Bassist Anderson and Haneine shine on “What if What We Are,” their interactive and bold sound together is like lighting in a bottle, each countering the other with a locking and collaborative spirit that elevates the intensity of the tune. Anderson’s tone is assertive, and Haneine’s equally commanding style catapults the composition to consummate heights.
Unlayered is an excursion of facets that showcase Haneine’s deep connection with writing and bringing forth a cerebral experience that is both musical and filled with a depth of emotion. He is a unique voice in the fabric of jazz, one that deserves high praise for his absolute mastery both as a player and as a composer with an eye towards individualism.