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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joe Morris Quartet: Balance

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After several albums and great synergy, guitarist Joe Morris disbanded the quartet in 2000 with many of his associates stating it was a “terrible idea." For this reunion, the musicians' artistic evolution surges on via a conglomeration of diminutive and soaring theme-building episodes, asymmetrical footprints, and staggered detours, instilling a continual sense of anticipation. The gala is off to a rousing start on “Thought," fostered by Mat Maneri's buzzing viola passages, and the unit's synchronous improvisational attack, as the musicians' fluent, Johnny-on-the spot courses of action remain a constant throughout. However, they temper the pulse with the ...

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

Plymouth: Plymouth

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Jamie Saft, Joe Morris, Chris Lightcap, Gerald Cleaver, and Mary Halvorson. The simple mention of these five names is probably enough to frighten some people away from this album and make others rush toward it with open ears. Each one of the aforementioned musicians has a reputation for being a musical provocateur, pushing buttons, pushing the limits and challenging minds and ears with intelligent abandon. The music they make together under the banner of Plymouth could be dubbed free jazz, noise art, collective creation, or any number of similarly vague but telling things. Ultimately, it doesn't really matter what category ...

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 ...



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