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...

6

Tyshawn Sorey: Pillars

Karl Ackermann By

Sign in to view read count
Tyshawn Sorey's musical career has been steadily moving away from jazz and toward new music in several forms. Verisimilitude (Pi Recordings, 2017) is dominated by a series of textural motions that create a dark mood. That album followed another Pi release, The Inner Spectrum of Variables (2016); an album that featured classical composition and improvisation. Sorey's new album, Pillars, is yet another departure for the composer/multi-instrumentalist; a three-disc set that is beyond categorization.

Stephen Haynes, Joe Morris and Mark Helias are some notable members of the superb octet assembled here. With the exception of Helias and fellow bassist Zach Rowden, each of the ensemble's players are featured on multiple instruments. The group, however, rarely plays as a unit but more often in sub-sets or solos. Each of the three discs contains a single work; individually they run more than seventy-five minutes in length.

"Pillars I" is the first disc and it opens with a four-minute Sorey drum solo, augmented by Carl Testa's whisper of electronics. Despite that introduction, Sorey's instrumental focus on Pillars is not the drums; he is heard on trombone and adds the dungchen, a Tibetan long trumpet, or horn. The first piece abruptly stops and refocuses on guitar and the percussion then resets for a long passage of bowed bass and brass. After a brief entanglement with anarchy, the final twenty minutes of "Pillars I" is a minimal drone (of sorts) led by Haynes trumpet and Sorey's percussion. Even in the many drone-like passages, there are sharp, unexpected intrusions from a variety of corners.

A deep, woody bass, and intricate guitar work, again with an ambient backdrop, reaches twenty-minutes into "Pillars II." Helias and Rowden here engage in a casual dialog at first but dissonance and unidentifiable noises emerge. The gradual appearance of percussion and brass give the second section an oddly ceremonial feeling. Sorey's dungchen and Ben Gerstein's trombone figure prominently in the setting up the ominous conclusion. "Pillars III" is the most frenetic of the pieces with greater emphasis on extended techniques and electronics. Nonetheless, there are protracted passages of stillness, a characteristic that is crucial to the structure of the entire collection.

Shortly after the October, 2018 release of Pillars, the Firehouse 12 label released (in November, 2018) the double-LP Pillars IV, consisting of four pieces edited from the same sessions. Each of compositions are from twenty to twenty-five minutes but "Part I" through "Part IV" of the second collection are stand-alone works. As with the October release, Sorey gives us perceptive composing and bold, imaginative interchanges; he isn't dependent on experimentation but when he chooses that route, it feels risky, perplexing, and strangely appealing. At its best, Pillars combines that sense of adventure, with improvised melodies and mysterious voids. The results are brilliantly appealing and truly unlike anything on record. Sorey has long been a highly sought-after drummer in jazz, but more than ten years ago, in his liner notes for That/Not (Firehouse 12, 2007), he stated: "I am a drummer who composes music; the function of this album is not a demonstration of my abilities as a drummer, but my interests as an artist." If there had been any doubt, listen to Pillars.


Track Listing: (Disc 1) Pillar I); (Disc 2) Pillar II); (Disc 3) Pillar III).

Personnel: Tyshawn Sorey: conductor, drum set, percussion, trombone, dungchen; Stephen Haynes: trumpet, flugelhorn, small percussion; Ben Gerstein: trombone, melodica; Todd Neufeld: electric and acoustic guitar; Joe Morris: guitar, double bass; Carl Testa: double bass, electronics; Mark Helias: double bass; Zach Rowden: double bass.

Title: Pillars | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Firehouse 12 Records

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

CD/LP/Track Review
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Extended Analysis
CD/LP/Track Review
Interviews
CD/LP/Track Review
  • Koan by AAJ Italy Staff
Multiple Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
  • Koan by Mark Corroto
Profiles
CD/LP/Track Review
Extended Analysis
Read more articles
Pillars

Pillars

Firehouse 12 Records
2018

buy
Verisimilitude

Verisimilitude

Pi Recordings
2017

buy
Alloy

Alloy

Pi Recordings
2015

buy
Alloy

Alloy

Pi Recordings
2014

buy
 

Oblique-I

Firehouse 12 Records
2011

buy
Date Detail Price
Jan9Wed
7:00 pm
Vijay Iyer, Tyshawn Sorey
Amsterdam Bar And Hall
Saint Paul, MN
May7Tue
7:00 pm
Vijay Iyer Sextet
Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts
Davis, CA
$25

Related Articles

Read Vilddjur CD/LP/Track Review
Vilddjur
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 11, 2018
Read Lines in Sand CD/LP/Track Review
Lines in Sand
by Geno Thackara
Published: December 11, 2018
Read Like A Fire That Consumes All Before It CD/LP/Track Review
Like A Fire That Consumes All Before It
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 11, 2018
Read The Brave CD/LP/Track Review
The Brave
by Geannine Reid
Published: December 11, 2018
Read Strings 1 CD/LP/Track Review
Strings 1
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 11, 2018
Read Pillars CD/LP/Track Review
Pillars
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 10, 2018
Read "Borderline Inspirations" CD/LP/Track Review Borderline Inspirations
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: September 14, 2018
Read "Rumble at Waikiki. The John Blair Anthology" CD/LP/Track Review Rumble at Waikiki. The John Blair Anthology
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: August 27, 2018
Read "Picking Up Steam" CD/LP/Track Review Picking Up Steam
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: May 12, 2018
Read "Painted Pillars" CD/LP/Track Review Painted Pillars
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 7, 2018
Read "The Literature" CD/LP/Track Review The Literature
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: July 22, 2018
Read "Change In The Air" CD/LP/Track Review Change In The Air
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 18, 2018