Joe Morris has made a career of directing creative energy towards new experiences and a fascinating development has been the incorporation of new instruments to his vocabulary. Morris distinguished himself as a guitarist in 1994 with the release of Symbolic Gesture. Many duo, trio and ensemble records followed but Morris was not content simply to refine his musical identity as an electric guitarist. In the last few years, Morris has begun recording solo and ensemble music on acoustic guitar, banjo and double-bass.
Wildlife is not simply a Joe Morris record with two talented sidemen, however. The record is a document of a working band of the same name, with saxophonist Petr Cancura and drummer Luther Gray. The record opens with an extended feature for the drums, the lengthy solo intro segueing to a wonderful sax lead, followed by more spirited percussion. "Thicket" is next, with Morris' bass ostinato bouncing and shifting in color throughout, calling to mind the texture and grounding quality of the kora, an apt functionality given the African influences in Cancura's work elsewhere.
The saxophonist conjures a wide array of moods and timbres, with a crooning sensitivity at one moment (the intro to "Crow," for example) or fragmented echoes of bebop in another ("Nettle"). The final two cuts both feature extended bass solos in the middle and Morris' trademark fluency with shifting texture, register and velocity. The heated propulsion on the final cut takes the CD out with a sense of determination, providing a clear image of an ensemble whose debut is a formidable point of departure.
Geomantic; Thicket; Crow; Nettle.
Joe Morris: bass; Petr Cancura: alto and tenor saxophone; Luther Gray: drums.
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary step that will help musicians and venues now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the sticky footer ad). Thank you!
Get more of a good thing
Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.