440

Joe Morris Bass Quartet: High Definition

Glenn Astarita By

Sign in to view read count
Joe Morris has often switched between guitars and bass throughout his rather fruitful recorded legacy. He's spiraled toward the zenith of modern day progressive/avant-garde jazz artists via his numerous solo ventures and collaborations. High Definition might well stand as one of his crowning achievements, where he performs exclusively on bass while serving as the director of operations.

Morris remains entrenched in the winners' circle, given the impressive scope of this top-flight band. With multi-reedman Alan Chase and multi-hornist Taylor Ho Bynum chairing the front line, the musicians chart a sense of urgency due to contrapuntal free-bop choruses and buoyant flows that occasionally dissolve into fragmented patterns. Moreover, it's a democratic engagement where the instrumentalists are afforded numerous opportunities to stretch out and delve into insightful expressionism.

The Bass Quartet executes that very fine line between structure and free form-based proclivities amid several radiating meltdowns. It's a bit akin to an action-packed adventure flick, awash with complex sub-plots. Yet the band by no means embarks upon a cacophonic course of activities. It displays regimentation while occasionally lowering the temperature, partly due to Chase's introspective clarinet phrasings and Bynum's talkative, muted cornet lines. Although they incorporate a few chamber-like measures into the grand schema, it's more about cohesive bop and free-bop, often-dappled with a sense of urgency.

Morris' fluent and sturdy bass parts, coupled with his longtime musical companion, drummer Luther Gray, add gobs of pop and sizzle to the entire program. The hornists sprinkle harmonically appeasing choruses during the swinging and prismatic "All-In-One." Here, Bynum's brash and darkly woven trumpet phrasings generate a stark contrast to the brisk and memorably melodic primary theme.

With the undeniably synergistic interplay of the ensemble, Morris pursues a striking balance between ultra-modern mainstream, and avant-garde tinged progressive jazz. The band seems to hit all the right notes and, perhaps more importantly, renders a series of performances that traverses a broad array of jazz-based methodologies, where the freer elements translucently intersect the core compositional attributes.

A mighty-fine exposition it is.

Track Listing: Skeleton; Morning Group; Land Mass; Topics; Bearing; All-in-One; Super Spot; The Air Has Color.

Personnel: Taylor Ho Bynum: cornet, trumpet, flugelhorn; Allan Chase: alto, baritone and soprano saxophone; Joe Morris: double-bass; Luther Gray: drums.

Title: High Definition | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Hatology

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

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

Album Reviews
In Pictures
Album Reviews
Multiple Reviews
Album Reviews
Read more articles
Shock Axis

Shock Axis

Relative Pitch Records
2016

buy
Balance

Balance

Clean Feed Records
2014

buy
Plymouth

Plymouth

RareNoiseRecords
2014

buy
 

Part And Parcel

Kedar Entertainment Group
2013

buy

Upcoming Shows

Related Articles

Read This Should Be Fun Album Reviews
This Should Be Fun
By David A. Orthmann
April 20, 2019
Read Transoceanico Album Reviews
Transoceanico
By Patrick Burnette
April 20, 2019
Read Pete Seeger: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection Album Reviews
Pete Seeger: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection
By Jakob Baekgaard
April 20, 2019
Read Live in Newcastle, December 8, 1972 Album Reviews
Live in Newcastle, December 8, 1972
By John Kelman
April 19, 2019
Read HUJE 2018 Album Reviews
HUJE 2018
By Jack Bowers
April 19, 2019
Read Farallon Album Reviews
Farallon
By Jerome Wilson
April 19, 2019
Read Burning Meditation Album Reviews
Burning Meditation
By John Sharpe
April 18, 2019