168

Joe Morris: Singularity

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Joe Morris: Singularity One night before a show, I had the opportunity to overhear a conversation Joe Morris was having with another member of the audience. I didn't catch a single word, but what struck was the way he accompanied the dialogue on his guitar. Some players might call this process "warming up"—but I wonder if Morris is ever "cold." The connections between speech, gesture, and response all flowed naturally from his hands through the unamplified guitar. Unlike a lot of guitarists, Morris has completely overcome the boundaries imposed by his instrument. He has achieved a mind-body fusion that translates into musical expression of the highest order.

On Singularity, Morris performs solo on the unamplified (acoustic) guitar, a departure from his usual electric work. While his plugged-in tone is "clean," the acoustic instrument offers additional possibilities for tone, texture, and resonance. The compositions on this disc (all by Morris) provide a unique setting for him to explore ideas without being restricted by arrangement or formula. Certain passages feature drone-like small-interval alternation; moments later he flies free through scraps and shards of fiery expressionism. Other pieces feature elaborate chordal development and more obviously structured progression. A look at the titles of these tunes offers a hint at the abstract purity of the ideas contained within.

Morris rarely offers more than a hint at the harmonic elements involved in his playing; the rest of the sound space is left wide open for the listener to fill in. Understatement, even during torrents of notes, is the operative concept behind the guitarist's work. Swing becomes an entirely new feel when it's dosed out in two or three-note units. While Morris has done some of his most exciting work in trios, quartets, and larger groups, the solo setting offers a completely unfettered opportunity for him to explore ideas. The cover photo on Singularity—his daughter's outstretched hands holding a flower—offers a completely a propos metaphor for Morris's music. It's just innocent enough to grasp the highest forms of beauty.


Track Listing: Light; Gravity; Creature; Shape; Atmosphere; Sense; Liquid; Dimension; Flight; Rock.

Personnel: Joe Morris: steel string acoustic guitar.

| Record Label: AUM Fidelity | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Pat Metheny Pat Metheny
guitar
Ornette Coleman Ornette Coleman
sax, alto
Nels Cline Nels Cline
guitar, electric
Tim Berne Tim Berne
saxophone
Joe McPhee Joe McPhee
reeds
Dave Weckl Dave Weckl
drums
Sonny Sharrock Sonny Sharrock
guitar, electric
David S. Ware David S. Ware
sax, tenor
Julius Hemphill Julius Hemphill
sax, alto

More Articles

Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "Garden 2nd Set" CD/LP/Track Review Garden 2nd Set
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 2, 2016
Read "Find Your Wings" CD/LP/Track Review Find Your Wings
by Jim Trageser
Published: November 5, 2016
Read "Near Life Experience" CD/LP/Track Review Near Life Experience
by John Kelman
Published: June 27, 2016
Read "Old Door Phantoms" CD/LP/Track Review Old Door Phantoms
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 5, 2016
Read "Anatta" CD/LP/Track Review Anatta
by Budd Kopman
Published: June 3, 2016
Read "Cada Fuego Es El Primero" CD/LP/Track Review Cada Fuego Es El Primero
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 20, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!