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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joe Morris & Jamie Saft: Plymouth

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Guitarist Joe Morris and keyboardist Jamie Saft follow-up the 2013 Rare Noise Records release Slobberpup in a similar vein by locking into another improvisational fest. Once all the audio processing equipment is ready to roll, it's time for instantaneous compositional forays, as they let the chips fall where they may. Morris' former student, guitarist and rising star Mary Halvorson, along with the prominent rhythm section of bassist Chris Lightcap and drummer Gerald Cleaver steer an asymmetrical rhythmic course. However, the smoky audio sound inadvertently or perhaps intentionally tenders a clustering effect that accentuates the holistic group aura in contrast to ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joe Morris: Graffiti In Two Parts

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One of the main talking points regarding Graffiti In Two Parts, and perhaps the reason this session from 1985 has finally seen the light of day, must be the participation of the erstwhile pianist Lowell Davidson. After studying biochemistry at Harvard University, he moved to New York and played with Ornette Coleman who urged the ESP Disk label to record him. If the pianist is known at all, it is for the obscure but acclaimed Lowell Davidson Trio (ESP Disk, 1965) with bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Milford Graves. Davidson (who also played drums in an early lineup of The ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joe Morris / William Parker / Gerald Cleaver: Altitude

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Guitarist Joe Morris is on a roll. Hardly a month goes by without a new release featuring the Boston-based musician. Of course, he doubled his chances by adding acoustic bass to his armory alongside his six-stringed axe. It's the latter he wields on this trio date featuring bassist William Parker and drummer Gerald Cleaver, captured at New York City's Stone in June, 2011. Strangely, given their long acquaintance, this is the first time this particular combination has recorded, though each knows the others well from other collaborations. Cleaver and Parker form two-thirds of improvising collective Farmers By Nature, while Parker ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joe Morris/ William Parker/ Gerald Cleaver: Altitude

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Of all the possible combinations and permutations of modern improvising jazzmen, it's a wonder that the trio of guitarist Joe Morris, bassist William Parker and drummer Gerald Cleaver have never worked together as a unit. Luckily in 2011, at the urging of label chief Steven Joerg, the trio got together for two sets at The Stone in New York as part of a two-week AUM curated series.Much like on Cleaver's previous release with Parker and pianist Craig Taborn entitled Out of This World's Distortions (AUM, 2011), this ensemble performs in a seemingly leaderless fashion. Each player subscribes to ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ivo Perelman / Joe Morris / Gerald Cleaver: Family Ties

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Family Ties is São Paulo-born saxophonist Ivo Perelman's sixteenth release for Leo Records and the sixth named after one of Brazilian novelist Clarice Lispector's intense psychological works of fiction. Each of the record's six pieces is similarly titled after a short story from the aforementioned collection, yet the album's designation offers a broader, more salient interpretation when considering the deep rapport shared between Perelman and his current sidemen.2011's The Hour of the Star (Leo Records) presented the debut of Perelman's powerful all-star quartet with pianist Matthew Shipp, upright bassist Joe Morris and drummer Gerald Cleaver. As the first ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ivo Perelman / Joe Morris / Gerald Cleaver: Family Ties

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Her boyfriend might have left Janis Joplin with nothing, as she asserts in her classic version of Kris Kristofferson's “Me and Bobby McGee," but Ivo Perelman refutes Joplin's claim that “freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose" on Family Ties.The Brazilian saxophonist has returned to recording with a deluge of releases, this outpouring being inspired by his latest quartet, three-quarters of which are represented here. Missing is pianist Matthew Shipp, who is heard on the The Hour Of The Star (Leo Records, 2011).In many ways though, this remains a quartet record, as Shipp's presence ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joe Morris: Camera

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Influential improvising guitarist Joe Morris ignites luminous imagery that casts a musically minded paradigm on how the diffraction of light may traverse a camera lens. However, individual interpretations can yield other enticing persuasions on Camera, engineered upon the grouping of stringed instruments and drums. “Street Scene" exemplifies Morris' clever articulations via fluttering storylines, largely executed at a brisk pace. Drummer Luther Gray lays out a peppery backbone for the soloists' dissecting call-and-response patterns, where subliminal nods to blues, modern jazz, and avant chamber fuse into a jovial, yet somewhat unlikely medium. Morris blazes a furious single-note ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Marshall Allen / Matthew Shipp / Joe Morris: Night Logic

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Unlikely combinations sometimes deliver the most enjoyable results. Take the unexpected pleasure to be derived from what must have one time seemed unpromising pairings such as chili and chocolate or garlic and bread. So the partnering of Sun Ra Arkestra regular Marshall Allen with pianist Matthew Shipp and long time associate Joe Morris yields an astonishing and joyful return on Night Logic, a live recording detailed with in-your-face sound from NYC's Roulette, spread generously over ten self-contained abstract improvisations spanning some 70 minutes. Allen, who joined Sun Ra in 1957, has only appeared sparingly outside the Arkestral confines, ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Joe Morris: Today on Earth; Colorfield; The Necessary and the Possible; Fine Objects

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Joe MorrisToday on EarthAUM Fidelity2009 Joe MorrisColorfieldESP-Disk2009 Joe Morris/Simon H. Fell/Alex WardThe Necessary and the PossibleRecord Label #3Year Joe MorrisFine ObjectsNot Two2009 With four new releases, Joe Morris continues to expand his prodigious output with varied work, refining and redefining his identity as an inventive and deeply principled improviser. From the thickly woven tapestries of microscopic textures of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joe Morris: Colorfield

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Challenges have been part of Joe Morris' life as a musician. He has long established his reputation as a guitarist on the improvised music scene playing with several high priests of the genre. More than this, he has raised the bar for himself in a constant state of reinvention.

Long active in Boston, Morris was in several improvising contexts ranging from solo to large ensembles, his approach and perspective a seamless fit. In the 1980s he helped organize the Boston Improvisers Group which, despite changing shape through its personnel, always made a vital contribution in its ability to ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joe Morris: Colorfield

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Much dirt has been spread about concrete art because it lacks heart and is almost always cold by its very nature. In music as in painting, the anomaly of art without a living soul can echo with emptiness. However there is Confucius, who praised the exactitude of concrete nomenclature, eschewing the figurative. In the case of music that may be overtones or moods, even guitarist Joe Morris' Colorfield does not stray from the path of concrete music diktats, where there's the proverbial doffing of the hat to Cecil Taylor and the era of Unit Structures And so, while Morris--at ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joe Morris: Fine Objects

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Guitarist Joe Morris continues his 2002 experimentation with the double-bass. On Fine Objects, he leads a trio of saxophone, bass, and drums through two of his own compositions, a couple of trio improvisations, and other compositions by Ornette Coleman, Eric Dolphy, Larry Clinton and Petr Cancura.

Morris chose two former students from the New England Conservatory in Boston for this session. Tenor saxophonist Cancura, born in the Czech Republic, is gaining quite the reputation in jazz circles. He has been a sideman to Bob Moses and Danilo Perez, but it was his session with Morris and Luther Gray ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joe Morris: Today On Earth

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Joe Morris holds a unique position in creative music, meriting the top drawer on both guitar and bass, wielding the former in David S. Ware's resurgent company on Shakti (AUM Fidelity, 2009), and the latter on Wildlife (AUM Fidelity, 2009). For his third outing on the same imprint in 2009 Morris returns to guitar for what might just be his best showing yet, in a move which represents sustained artistic return on the label's investment.

Completing the quartet, on what is their sophomore release, are long-time associates Jim Hobbs on alto saxophone, best known for helming the Fully Celebrated Orchestra ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joe Morris Quartet: Today On Earth

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Since taking up the bass in 2000, guitarist Joe Morris has split his recording and performing time between his new upright and his original axe. While growing considerably as a bassist, both as a sideman and leader, Morris maintains a singular approach to the guitar, placing him in the upper echelon of present day improvisers.

An educator at the New England Conservatory and a ubiquitous presence on the East Coast jazz scene, Today On Earth is Morris' third recording for AUM Fidelity this year, following his appearance on David S. Ware's Shakti and his own bass-led trio record, ...



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