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Tyshawn Sorey: Alloy

Glenn Astarita By

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Drummer Tyshawn Sorey has evolved into one of the more sought after drummers in the jazz and improvisational strata on a global basis. His ever expanding resume is difficult to keep up with. And he possesses immense chops as a polyrhythmic powerhouse, but focuses his empathetic support on a variety of levels, including diverse compositional frameworks, free-flowing improv and whatever the heat of the moment may require.

Currently, Sorey is in the doctoral program at Columbia University studying composition, drawing upon a wide-ranging sphere of influences, yet his leanings toward contemporary classical and minimalist composer Morton Feldman amid the jazz improvisation quotient, offset the customary jazz piano trio format on his second solo outing, Alloy.

These extended works are fashioned with airy, contemplative and fragile underpinnings via animated three-way dialogues as pianist Cory Smythe leads the trio with gradually ascending theme constructions, often building upon layers. Yet the musicians do mix it up as they navigate through nouveau classical-jazz contrasts upon an elongated musical tract, where Sorey's deft accompaniment, along with bassist Chris Tordini's nimble lines serve as the anchor. At times the music bumps and rolls, evidenced on "Template," accentuated by the drummer's dancing rock groove and an overall aura, based on opposing forces.

The final, 30-minute work "A Love Song," commences with Smythe's extended minimalist developments. Here, the pianist renders a deceptively simple and reverberating storyline, weaving matters into a trance-like state, tinted with fragmented metrics. At about the 16-minute mark, Tordini enters the picture with sublime arco notes as the duo expounds on an ominous subplot, eventually veering into a poignant journey atop Sorey's softly articulated beats. However, the entire program requires patience on the listeners' part with these deeply probing and delicately fabricated compositions that benefit from the pristine audio soundscape and Sorey's compelling imaginative faculties.

Track Listing: Returns; Movement; Template; A Love Song.

Personnel: Tyshawn Sorey: drums; Cory Smythe: piano; Christopher Tordini: bass.

Title: Alloy | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Pi Recordings

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