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Following up his hugely successful “Knitting Factory Records” release, featuring accordionist Andrea Parkins, bassoonist Karen Borca and saxophonist Rob Brown titled Many Rings, guitarist Joe Morris returns with his current working Quartet on the “live” set - At The Old Office. Here, the band performs at the Knitting Factory’s, “Old Office” which seems to be a popular venue for many modern jazz musicians for it’s sympathetic acoustical environment.
Joe Morris, viola/violinist Mat Maneri, drummer Gerald Cleaver and bassist Chris Lightcap collectively represent one of the finest, cutting edge bands in modern jazz, as the music presented on this new release extends some of their now familiar micro-tonal/improvisational style developments and concepts. With this recording, the shortest piece clocks in at 10 ½ minutes while the others range anywhere from 19 to 28 minutes. Overall, the band continues their rather unique assault on the – new jazz - via crafty interplay and resilient (minimalist) themes yet in some areas this writer feels that the live experience may have been a tad more fruitful or endearing. On pieces such as the 28 minute opener titled, “Matter Of Fact” the musicians do indeed exhibit somewhat of a casual atmosphere where the music is taken in stride or perhaps created with a subtle sense of the dynamic. However, the prolonged developments amid the often snail’s pace flow demands the utmost attention from the listener.
Throughout, the musicians inject heaps of micro-passages via jagged lines, gradual thematic invention and the surging pulse as Lightcap and Cleaver also seize a few solo opportunities. Needless to state everyone performs well or as we might have anticipated and the proceedings do pick up a few notches within various sequences yet the big picture makes for a sometimes-enduring experience due to the lengthy dialogues and leisurely pace. - * * *
Visit the “Knitting Factory Records” website at: www.knittingfactory.com
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.