I'm sure I miscalculated, but the sum so far is 3 albums this year with Joe Morris as a leader, and 6 as a sideman/bandmember, and the distinction between the former and the latter is also not always quite clear. That means nine in total, with the three below to be added, quite a prolific list this year.
I have this ambiguous relationship to Joe Morris: sometimes I find him excellent, at other times I find him really hard to understand, but he is always adventurous, never satisfied with the status quo, and always striving for new approaches and high quality delivery. He can be very jazzy, with clear melodic and rhythmic figures, or very avant-garde, with abstract pointillistic notes creating unusual sound tapestries. Below, we move from the first to the last.
Joe Morris - Today On Earth (AUM Fidelity, 2009) ****½
Joe Morris - Colorfield (ESP Disks, 2009) ****
Colorfield", a painting style that was popular in the 40s and 50s, "characterized by large fields of color spread across the canvas". The three musicians draw broad strokes of music, but working with agreed approaches of rhythm, harmony, phrase and tempo. Not unlike Cecil Taylor and Jimmy Lyons, the length of the pieces make the overall created sound into a mass of notes, in which the individual points are less relevant, it's the overall impression and auditory effect that counts. Abstract yes, but melodic too, with careful restraint precision on the first and third piece, with leads indeed to a strange kind of non-figurative clarity, and with more nervous and agitated work on the two other pieces.
Joe Morris, Simon Fell, Alex Ward - The Necessary And The Possible (Victo, 2009) ****
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