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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Joe Morris Wildlife - Traits (Riti, 2011) ****

By Stef

Two years ago, Joe Morris's Wildlife was a trio, with the leader on bass, Petr Cancura on tenor saxophone, Luter Gray on drums, and now the band gets extended with Jim Hobbs on alto sax, giving the overall sound a richer feel and more depth.

With the opening track, "Howling", the double sax front line delivers a strong statement of open-ended wails, without clear path or endpoint, in a real free jazz blowfest, yet as the album evolves, organisation and closer interplay start to gradually emerge, a little more so on "Tracking", with the rhythm section providing a solid intro for the interlocking horns who challenge and mirror and join each other's concepts yet without actually developing a common theme.

On the third track Morris leads the way with a long arco intro, for again a kind of parlando conversation between the two saxes, overlapping and arguing, getting more and more excited as they move forward, neither of them willing to take a step back. "Game", the fourth track is a boppish piece, seemingly prepared, yet possibly entirely improvised, now with the musicians playing consecutively, first Cancura, then Hobbs, then Gray, then Morris - the joy of soloing and coming back to common ground, even if fully improvised.

The most interesting track is "Display", on which the hypnotic rhythm and the vibrating tones of Cancura's tenor give a kind of African or Middle-Eastern flavor, and despite the unusual approach, Hobbs picks it up seemlessly and takes the idea forward as if rehearsed. The album ends with the longest track, "Territorial", with joint improvisation again from the very start, again underpinned by a solid rhythm.

The rhythmic basis, the instant improvisation, the technical mastery, the variation and unique character of each track, combined with the raw yet refined delivery, make this one of the albums that fits the definition of free jazz quite well, and one that is highly recommended to the lovers of the genre.

Buy from Instantjazz

© stef


Stanley Jason Zappa said...

Love love love this record. Hobbs is the BOMB!