Tag Archives: Joe Morris

Steve Dollar’s (Wall Street Journal, Time Out Chicago) Best of 2010 List

Listed alphabetically

Marshall Allen-Matthew Shipp-Joe Morris: Night Logic (RogueArt)
Bizingas: Bizingas (NCM East)
Nels Cline: Dirty Baby (Cryptogramophone)
Stephan Crump: Reclamation (Sunnyside)
Mary Halvorson: Saturn Sings (Firehouse 12)
Chris Lightcap: Bigmouth Deluxe (Clean Feed)
Jason Moran: Ten (Blue Note)
Joe Morris & Nate Wooley: Tooth and Nail (Clean Feed)
William Parker: Uncle Joe’s Spirit House (Centering)
Marc Ribot: Silent Movies (Pi)
http://hullworks.net/vv/10//ballots-02.php

All About Jazz-Italy review by Vincenzo Roggero

Joe Morris / Nate Wooley – Tooth and Nail (CF 190)
Valutazione: 4 stelle
Quella del duo è un’arte sopraffina e stimolante ma anche rischiosa e implacabile. Non si può barare, non ci si può nascondere, si è “nudi alla meta” e solo spiccata sensibilità, orecchie aperte, capacità comunicativa, vera urgenza espressiva possono portare a risultati significativi. E’ quello che accade in questo Tooth and Nail dove due innovatori come il chitarrista Joe Morris e il trombettista Nate Wooley danno vita ad un incontro di notevole intensità condividendo le proprie visioni musicali che vanno oltre le regole assodate di armonia, tonalità e ritmo.

Ma non è su questo terreno che dobbiamo indirizzare la nostra attenzione quanto piuttosto su quello di una ricerca profonda sui limiti degli strumenti e sulle possibilità del musicista di sfruttarne ogni più recondita risorsa a fini comunicativi. Wooley radicalizza l’evoluzione della tromba jazz tornando agli elementi che ne costituiscono l’approccio base ossia respiro, posizione delle labbra, uso della lingua, esasperandone la funzionalità. Morris, dal canto suo, lavora sulle corde pizzicando, glissando, percuotendo, utilizzando tutto lo spazio fisico consentito dallo strumento e quando prende corpo qualcosa di simile al fraseggio questo ha l’essenzialità delle singole note e la forza espressiva di un’intera orchestra.

“Sussurri e grida” potremmo definire Tooth and Nail, parafrasando uno dei capolavori di Ingmar Bergman. Più sussurri che grida perché il clima della registrazione è intimo con i due musicisti che svelano le proprie emozioni in modo apparentemente disordinato, irregolare e nervoso. Ma una volta sintonizzati con il particolare universo sonoro creato da Morris e Wooley si apre per l’ascoltatore un mondo affascinante e prezioso.
http://italia.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=5909

Improjazz review by Luc Bouquet

Paris Transatlantic review by Jason Bivins

Joe Morris/Nate Wooley – TOOTH AND NAIL (CF 190)
Tooth and Nail features Joe Morris on acoustic guitar and Nate Wooley on trumpet, whose playing on these eight tracks is less focused on immersion and intertwining than on contrast, feinting and exultation in sonic difference. After the lovely exchanges of “Metronorth,” where wood and brass cage each other in the ring, Morris’s fascinating flinty bridge work on “Gigantica” sets up lobs for Wooley to bat down with the force of his breath. But this is no mere recital of bitty, gestures. The two really relish the abstracted slices of bop language on “Steelhead” and “Terrific Snag,” with Morris swinging hard. “Noble Reasoning” finds him fascinatingly reworking an ascending phrase, with a Braxtonian mini-hiccup at its heart, with Wooley a laughing bird crossed with Cootie Williams. If it’s invention and outness you’re after, don’t worry. Check out the serrations and choked chords on “Forest Grove,” along with Wooley’s muffled squeaks and brassy whines, or the soft drones and koto sounds of “Barberchaired.” It’s a fascinatingly varied duo outing, the kind of thing to play to shut up that guy who says free improv has no roots. Kudos!
http://www.paristransatlantic.com/magazine/monthly2010/10oct_text.html#8

All About Jazz New York review by Clifford Allen

Joe Morris / Nate Wooley – Tooth and Nail (CF 190)
Because trumpeter Nate Wooley has worked in methods that straddle a number of areas – including noise music, as well as free improvisation and jazz – one might expect this duo with Joe Morris (heard here on guitar) to lean heavily on the pillars of extremity. Morris, too, often embraces net-less abstraction as well as wry straightahead contexts. However, Tooth and Nail sticks very true to its character, however uniquethat is, of an acoustic guitar and trumpet duo.

The eight improvisations here are about as naked as one could hope for and yet still proffer a futuristvision of breathy dives, spittle-demarked kisses and taut cycles of metal and wood. In addition to voicings and intervals, Morris uses horizontal scrapes along the strings in condensed clusters. Alternately muted and bright flecks at either end of the instrument or detuned thwack all enter the picture. But the sounds’ origin remains clear and immediate, specifically connected to and drawn from guitar and trumpet. “Metronorth” finds Wooley, in a few short bars, moving from inverted pucker to stately cadenza, to leaps and flutters as Morris’ progressions seem to turn inward, condensing as much as they spur.

One can hear the history of the modern trumpet in Wooley’s playing – Miles, Freddie Hubbard, Wadada Leo Smith and the pure-sound circular breathing of Axel Dörner – but that’s not to say his playing is a pastiche, rather a beautifully interconnected statement in brass. The pair trade foreground and background, clambering folksy concentration supported by descending muted guffaws on “Steelhead” or violinlike free scrabble opposite thick, muscular clouds and churning multiphonics on “Forrest Grove”. Tooth and Nail sets up its own tradition while also looking to the past and contemporaries.
http://www.aaj-ny.com/issues/aaj_ny_201010.pdf

Tomajazz review by Pachi Tapiz

Joe Morris: dúos por partida doble
 
¿Y Joe Morris? Veamos. Cuando se comenta sobre los guitarristas actuales del jazz más importantes lo habitual es que aparezcan, y con razón, los nombres de John Scofield, Bill Frisell y Pat Metheny. Quizás también lo hagan Marc Ribot (Tom Waits y Los Cubanos Postizos tienen su parte de culpa), Nels Cline (eso de tocar con Wilco tiene su recompensa, mayor que la que merece su larga carrera en el jazz), o incluso Mary Halvorson. Las cosas como son, y aunque la memoria es muy volátil, es posible que a muchos les suene en estos momentos, como la next big thing de esta última temporada.

Como músico Morris está más que activo tanto en su labor de guitarrista como de contrabajista. Durante los últimos meses ha aparecido en unas cuantas grabaciones a cuál más recomendable, entre las que se incluye su participación en Shakti del cuarteto de David S. Ware sustituyendo a Matthew Shipp. En cuanto a lo que está por venir, en breve tendrá lugar la publicación del CD del grupo liderado por Ramón López homenajeando a Max Roach, en el que participó en el verano del pasado 2009. Sin embargo, a pesar de su intensa actividad, es capaz de darnos todavía más momentos inolvidables.

Dos de sus últimos CD son sendos dúos con dos viejos conocidos suyos: el trompetista Nate Wooley y el baterista Luther Gray. Las dos muestran a ese guitarrista inquieto y activo que acostumbra, en dos facetas diferentes.

En Creatures (Not Two), su duo con Gray, optan por improvisaciones libres en las que destaca el carácter melódico, tranquilo y melancólico por momentos. Toda una delicia para los sentidos. Un disco para sentarse, dejarse llevar y disfrutar.

En Tooth and Nail (CF 190), su dueto con Nat Wooley, ambos músicos optan por la exploración. Morris y Wooley, guitarra acústica y trompeta en ristre, van desarrollando las posibilidades de sus instrumentos sin poner límites a la música, sin caer en la tentación de imponer unas formas que escondan un interior vacío de contenido.

Que nadie espere en estos discos una perfección casi rayana en lo obsesivo, ramalazos soul, funk o rock, ni tampoco una aproximacióna a la americana. Tampoco al próximo aspirante a sucesor al trono de Wes Montgomery o Charlie Christian. Lo que se va a encontrar es con un sonido y una concepción de la música sumamente particulares. Eso que se podría denominar como una voz propia. Ni más ni menos que la de Joe Morris.
http://bun.tomajazz.com/2010/09/joe-morris-duos-por-partida-doble.html

Gapplegate Music review by Grego Edwards

Guitarist Joe Morris, Trumpeter Nate Wooley in “Tooth and Nail” Duets

Joe Morris / Nate Wooley – Tooth and Nail (CF 190)
A CD of all-improvisational duets between archtop guitar and trumpet is not a standard sort of offering. A rather starkly rigorous lineup of this type can be anything from mesmerizing to a raving bore. Thankfully Tooth and Nail (Clean Feed 190) falls closer to the former end of the spectrum than the latter. Joe Morris, a player who seems to enjoy increasing exposure on disk, cajoles conventional and less conventional sounds out of his microphone-captured archtop guitar while Nate Wooley, another artist getting increasing attention, plays improvisational phrases that unleash an arsenal of techniques and ideas. Morris and Wooley are exposed to our ears without the cushioning of a rhythm section, and so they face one of the more difficult challenges of the improvising artist. There are no corners to hide in; there are no other players to fill in the gaps and take center stage when the chops or ideas flag. Both Morris and Wooley show amply on this recording that they have plenty of good improvisational ideas and that their chops are up to the endurance test. It’s helter-skelter, seat-of-the-pants musical performance all the way. Generally Morris and Wooley carry on a varied and contentful dialog with a kind of paralleling double voice rather than a call and response or line and counterline discourse. In the process they enter rarefied improvisational realms. The music remains on a somewhat abstract level throughout. In that sense this is more or less a purist-modernist outing. Don’t expect quotations from “On The Trail” or “BlueTail Fly.” Perhaps this music is not for everybody. Most music isn’t. What it IS, it is consistently. It is a high-level example of advanced improvisational duets. And it’s a good example of why both Joe Morris and Nate Wooley are getting so much attention lately. They gracefully carry their own weight but they also make that weight the standard by which similar ventures might be judged. In that way Tooth and Nail establishes a kind of standard measure for unconventional duet-ing.
http://gapplegateguitar.blogspot.com/

Free Jazz review by Stef Gissels

Joe Morris & Nate Wooley – Tooth And Nail (CF 190)
****

I have had the chance to listen to this album many months before it was released (thanks Nate!), and even if I found it hard and harsh and raw during the first listens, with Morris’s nervous little guitar sounds cascading over each other, bouncing back and forth, with trumpeter Nate Wooley’s tones ranging from the voiced to almost soundless whispers.

Because Morris plays acoustic guitar, and because Wooley’s trumpet sound is the opposite from muscular, with notes falling out of his trumpet rather than soaring through the ceiling, the music is incredibly intimate and close, warm even, despite the atonal nature of the proceedings. It is an alien universe, but like most avant-garde work, you as the listener need to make an effort too.

And once you’ve listened to it a lot, you start discerning structure, or repeated patterns, or little echoes that are not so obvious at first hearing.  And once you’re in their universe, it all is very welcoming, charming even, precious, sensitive and fragile.

Listen to Morris’s intro to the second piece “Gigantica”, on which – in contrast to the title – sounds escape from the guitar that you would not expect, almost harplike, yet each note played in singular isolation, with lots of space around them. Wooley accentuates by blowing some little puffs of air over it.  But on other tracks the guitar evolves with arpeggiated chords, equally minimalist yet with a touch more density, with the trumpet adding voiced interaction, in a language that is incomprehensible though touching.

It is a strange universe, but it is coherent, appealing and sometimes even hypnotic.
http://freejazz-stef.blogspot.com/

El Intruso “Best of 2009″ list by different writers

Músico del Año 
Wadada Leo Smith 20
John Hollenbeck 19
Vijay Iyer 17
Bill Dixon 13
Anthony Braxton 12

Músico Revelación
Darius Jones 35
Darcy James Argue 18 
Peter Evans  14
Samuel Blaser 13
Nicholas Urie 9
 
Grupo del Año
John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble 15
Vandermark 5 14
The Thing 12
Vijay Iyer Trio 12
The Nels Cline Singers 10

Grupo Revelación
Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society 34
The Godforgottens 14
Fire! 13 
Lapslap 12
Darius Jones Trio 7
 
Álbum del Año
Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society Infernal Machines New Amsterdam 16 
Wadada Leo Smith Spiritual Dimensions Cuneiform 14 
John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble Eternal Interlude Sunnyside 11 
Vandermark 5 Annular Gift NotTwo 11 
Vijay Iyer Trio Historicity ACT Music 11 
Wadada Leo Smith & Jack DeJohnette America Tzadik 11
 
Compositor
John Hollenbeck 31
John Zorn 18
Henry Threadgill 17
Anthony Braxton 16
Bill Dixon 15

Batería
Paal Nilssen-Love 26 
Tyshawn Sorey 25
Kevin Shea 16
John Hollenbeck 15
Nasheet Waits 15
 
Contrabajo / Bajo eléctrico
William Parker 31
Joelle Leandre 23
Mark Dresser 16
Barry Guy 13
John Hebert 13

Guitarra
Mary Halvorson 34
Nels Cline 25
Hilmar Jensson 21
Joe Morris 19
Marc Ribot 7
 
Piano
Vijay Iyer 28
Satoko Fujii 20
Matthew Shipp 20
Agusti Fernández 15
Marilyn Crispell 9

Teclados
Uri Caine 26
Craig Taborn 21
John Medeski 20
Satoko Fujii 20
Marco Benevento 7
 
Saxo
Tony Malaby 22
Mats Gustaffson 21
Rudresh Mahanthappa 20
Anthony Braxton 15
Ken Vandermark 14

Trompeta / Corneta
Peter Evans 53
Wadada Leo Smith 38
Taylor Ho Bynum 22
Dave Douglas 20
Nate Wooley 14
 
Clarinete
Ben Goldberg 27
James Falzone 15
Alex Ward 14
Jason Stein 12
Anat Cohen 9

Trombón
Steve Swell 45
Samuel Blaser 23
Jeb Bishop 13 
Nils Wogram 11
Roswell Rudd 11
 
Violín / Viola
Mark Feldman 33
Jessica Pavone 24
Carla Kihlstedt 20
Jenny Scheinman 19
Carlos Zingaro 14

Cello
Fred Lonberg-Holm 30
Okkyung Lee 14
Daniel Levin 13
Peggy Lee 12
Vincent Courtois 12
 
Otros Instrumentos
Nicole Mitchell Flauta 28 
Brandon Seabrook Banjo 13 
Ikue Mori Electrónicos 13
Jason Adasiewicz Vibráfono 12
Marcus Rojas Tuba 11
 
Cantante Femenina
Fay Victor 13
Susanna Wallumrod 13
Carla Kihlstedt 9
Norma Winstone 8
Ute Wasserman 8

Cantante Masculino
Theo Bleckmann 22
Phil Minton  13
Kurt Elling 12
Antony 8
Dwight Trible 6
 
Músico / Grupo en concierto
Mostly Other People do the Killing 13
The Thing 12
Vandermark 5 12
Satoko Fujii 10
Steven Bernstein’s Millennial Territory Orch. 7

Sello Discográfico
Clean Feed 64
Firehouse 12 12
Intakt 10
Tzadik 10 
ECM 9

Han participado de la votación los siguientes periodistas (por orden alfabético):
Andrey Henkin, Antonio Branco, Clifford Allen, Ernest Pedersen, Eval Hareuveni, Guillaume Belhomme, Jakob Bækgaard, Jeff Dayton-Johnson, John Eyles, John Sharpe, Kurt Gottschalk, Laurence Donohue-Greene, Marcelo Morales, Mark Corroto, Matthew Marshall, Pachi Tapiz, Pep Salazar, García Pierre, Cécile Raúl da Gama, Roberto Barahona, Rui Eduardo Paes, Sean Fitzell, Sergio Piccirilli, Simon Jay Harper, Stef Gijssels, Stuart Broomer, Troy Collins
http://www.elintruso.com/article.php?id=1785&p=1

All About Jazz review by Clifford Allen

cf-130Joe Morris: MVP LSD, Elm City Duets, High Definition and Rejuvenation 
   
Joe Morris/Jon Voigt/Tom Plsek – The Graphic Scores of Lowell Skinner Davidson (Riti)
Joe Morris/Barre Phillips – Elm City Duets (CF 130) 
Joe Morris Bass Quartet – High Definition (Hatology )
Flow Trio – Rejuvenation (ESP Disk)

Guitarist/bassist-composer Joe Morris talks about one thing repeatedly: flow. He spoke about this facet of his music recently in a discussion with this writer about the late improvising composer Lowell Davidson. Davidson was a multi-instrumentalist who acted as a beacon to a number of younger Boston-based musicians in the ’70s and ’80s, including Morris. His music moved very slowly, hinging on sonic particles and lingering atmospherically, even as rhythms shifted. Those atmospheres could develop into extraordinarily piercing conditions felt objectively. Morris takes a page from that book and builds on it in four extremely varied recent recordings.

MVP joins Morris’ guitar with bassist Jon Voigt and trombonist Tom Plsek, all of whom are fellow travelers in Davidson’s sound world, for a program of ten compositions and one group improvisation. None of the pieces on The Graphic Scores of Lowell Skinner Davidson had been recorded before and their titles mostly correspond to the colored markings on the scores. “Blue Sky and Blotches” begins the set with vicious arco bass, Voigt hitting high harmonics and horsehair-swirling clusters. Trombone and bass unify in resonant long tones, almost like a single player’s multiphonics, while Morris approximates the cutting clink of kalimba, Nigerian single-string violin and throaty blues playing. The guitarist’s horizontal scrapings, which he calls riti (after the African instrument), are a result of playing with Davidson. He needed an approach to resonant harmonic clusters that wasn’t confined to the same structures that European players were using, mostly in the wake of Derek Bailey. He darts gnatlike into high-pitched metallic buzz, then growls midrange before a half-scraped, half-strummed fleck emerges, adding latticework to the drone of trombone and bass. But behind all the activity is an easy detail, where Morris strums Jimmy Raney-esque chords and clipped upturns as Plsek and Voigt pitch and yaw with a wobbly, glottal strut.

The idea of extended technique, such a significant part of the landscape of contemporary improvisation is, to Morris, something of a misnomer insofar as the idea of improvisation itself is something that can extend one’s technique. Bassist Barre Phillips’ work also fits that axiom; he’s long been on the forefront of free music as a player who finds new textural avenues through the whole of his instrument while retaining an extraordinarily classical poise. Though both Morris and Phillips had played in similar circles, it was in 2004 that they began formally working together and two years later recorded Elm City Duets. Though crackling scrapes and glissandi make for a spiky nest on the introductory piece and their spars search mutually, the clear bottom afforded by Phillips’ pizzicato and Morris’ folksy wandering on “Recite” makes for a measured and steady dance. Sure, the guitarist clambers a rickety waterspout of registers in parallel with heavy wooden thrum, but it’s within a language directly tied to the instruments’ regular habitats. Riti scrabble, the flat plunk of prepared strings and subtonal fingerboard slaps are a broadening of the vocabulary.

High Definition is yet another side of Morris—or two—as it presents him in a compositional light alongside his bass playing which, in tandem with drummer Luther Gray, serves the tunes’ rhythmic tensions perfectly. Morris is joined here on eight originals by cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum and saxophonist Allan Chase, the latter a collaborator on trumpeter John McNeil’s excellent East Coast Cool (OmniTone, 2004). The opening “Skeleton” recalls some of Anthony Braxton’s pianoless quartet work in the ’70s, a slinky theme that moves through uneven cycles. Rather than ghost trance stop-time, though, Gray and Morris keep an unwavering beat underneath Chase’s plowing and husky baritone and the gulping, brittle shrikes of Bynum’s brass. Choruses of pots and pluck later, the theme returns as a sophisticated answer to any query of “what is free-bop?” Lilting multiple tempos signal “Morning Group,” note cells hovering in a space continually active and clearly defined. Bynum takes Bill Dixon’s teachings into his own space, clear and cube-like clusters that move forward while rhythm hangs back and shades the corners.

To come full circle, Rejuvenation is the first disc from the aptly-named Flow Trio: Morris on bass with tenorman Louie Belogenis and drummer Charles Downs (formerly known as Rashid Bakr). Belogenis has played with figures in the music as diverse as Ikue Mori, Rashied Ali and Sunny Murray and his approach to the tenor is reminiscent of early Joe McPhee, sandblasted wide-vibrato, full and breathy yet with a microcosmic sense of detail. After the solo harmonic exploration of “Reflection,” a backwater poem of taut multiphonics and solitary keening, Morris and Downs enter for “Slow Cab”. Their approach to rhythm is almost laconic it’s so loose and hangs back from power trio expectations. Morris’ bass playing is coolly repetitive, plucking distant outlines for Downs’ cloudy gauze and Belogenis’ measured, flinty outpourings. Even when the music increases in density, mallets ricocheting off hot tenor walls, the pace is very natural, almost restive. Morris’ writing and choice of compatriots give a sense of directed motion to sound, reasserting the notion of swing as tension between actual and implied.
http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=32244