Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

302

Fieldwork: Door

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
In the three years since their sophomore recording, Simulated Progress (Pi Recordings, 2005), the collective trio Fieldwork has expanded its scope beyond sophisticated M-Base funk to delve into more expansive territory on Door. Comprised of pianist Vijay Iyer, saxophonist Steve Lehman and drummer Tyshaw Sorey, Fieldwork operates as a true cooperative, offering a model of balanced collective improvisation and advanced compositional strategies that eschews ego for the sake of the group dynamic.

Iyer is one of the most innovative and forward-thinking pianists of his generation, exemplified by his multi-media collaborations with hip-hop poet Mike Ladd and work with Steve Coleman, Roscoe Mitchell and Wadada Leo Smith. Lehman has studied with Anthony Braxton and recorded with Meshell Ndegeocello, resulting in an aesthetic that seamlessly melds the cerebral to the primal.

The youngest and newest member, Tyshawn Sorey is a sideman (Steve Coleman, Dave Douglas) renowned for his phenomenal dexterity. His audacious debut as a composer, the double album That/Not (Firehouse 12, 2007), confounded expectations by avoiding the churning polyrhythmic funk of the M-Base school in favor of the austere minimalism associated with Morton Feldman. He is also this session's primary composer, contributing six of eleven pieces.

One of Sorey's more animated numbers, "Of" opens the album with escalating turbulence, while his melancholy contributions ("Bend," "Cycle I," "Cycle II") bring an introspective air to the session. Somber and reserved, Sorey's writing offers a languid respite to the trio's irrepressible energy, as he downplays his own role in favor of atmospheric restraint. "Bend" encapsulates myriad emotions, ascending from tender balladry to cathartic release as Lehman elicits guttural multiphonics that peak in keening cries, while Iyer systematically builds climactic arpeggios over Sorey's intensifying rubato pulse.

Sorey's egoless contributions vary from pointillist shading to roiling ardor. At his most visceral, he vacillates between extremes of velocity. On the rambunctious "Pivot Point" his swirling palpitations spur Lehman into fervent gnarled salvos. "Rai" closes the album with Sorey stuttering staccato phrases that fuel Lehman's oblique tendrils and Iyer's abstruse cadences.

Eschewing the histrionic conventions of free jazz, the trio channels its explosive tendencies into tightly wound expressionistic coils. Iyer's elegant touch and euphonious melodic fragments bring soulfulness to the starkest passages, while Lehman's serpentine cadences unravel into acerbic shards. Avoiding formlessness, the trio frames its high-wire balancing act with tempo displacement, angular counterpoint and polytonal harmonies that coalesce into tightly unified ensemble interplay.

Meticulous by design, Fieldwork's intricate methodology occasionally invokes criticisms similar to those that plagued Anthony Braxton three decades ago. But true innovation never comes without a price, as the group moves well beyond its comfort zone, exploring previously untapped sound worlds.

A truly singular post-modern hybrid that draws equally from M-Base rhythms, Braxtonian structural theory and stark minimalism, Door is the formidable trio's most expansive and challenging recording to date.


Track Listing: Of; After Meaning; Less; Balanced; Bend; Cycle I; Pivot Point; Pivot Point Redux; Ghost Time; Cycle II; Rai.

Personnel: Vijay Iyer: piano; Steve Lehman: alto saxophone; Tyshawn Sorey: drums.

Title: Door | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Pi Recordings

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Live Reviews
Album Reviews
Read more articles
Door

Door

Pi Recordings
2008

buy
Simulated Progress

Simulated Progress

Pi Recordings
2005

buy
Your Life Flashes

Your Life Flashes

Pi Recordings
2002

buy

Shop

Start your shopping here and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read The Gleaners Album Reviews
The Gleaners
By Karl Ackermann
February 17, 2019
Read God Is Not A Terrorist Album Reviews
God Is Not A Terrorist
By Chris May
February 17, 2019
Read Inner Rhyme Album Reviews
Inner Rhyme
By Hrayr Attarian
February 17, 2019
Read Yuna Album Reviews
Yuna
By Glenn Astarita
February 17, 2019
Read Places Album Reviews
Places
By Andrew J. Sammut
February 17, 2019
Read Barriers Album Reviews
Barriers
By Karl Ackermann
February 16, 2019
Read Fractal Guitar Album Reviews
Fractal Guitar
By John Kelman
February 16, 2019