Tag Archives: Tyshawn Sorey

All About Jazz Italy review by Andrea Calió

CF 262Paradoxical Frog – Union (CF 262)
Album prettamente free-jazz, Union è la seconda e ultima (per ora) fatica del trio Paradoxical Frog, che annovera Ingrid Laubrock al sax, Kris Davis al piano e Tyshawn Sorey alla batteria. Data l’implicita natura del genere suonato, non è facile decifrare in pochi ascolti un opera composta in maggioranza da brani lunghi il cui svolgimento è tutt’altro che lineare (o – per contro – a volte lo è inaspettatamente) ma che presenta momenti di sicuro interesse musicale. L’intento artistico è esemplificato dalla title-track, una elaborata composizione fra le più riuscite dell’album, che da un incipit timido e sbilenco si sviluppa sino ad un luminoso climax, acceso da un ancia incendiaria che fa da contraltare alle dolcissime armonie tessute dal piano.

La band sembra dare il meglio di sè laddove esista una parvenza di struttura formale a supportare l’andamento del brano. Così è nella complessa e sincopata “Fear the Fairy Dust” o in “Figment,” con la sua circolarità ipnotica, o ancora in “Masterisk,” una sognante narrazione in cui Sorey si cimenta per breve tempo al trombone.

Altrove nel disco quelle tensioni generate dall’improvvisazione collettiva si stemperano in parentesi sonore che restano appese e si concludono senza emozionare. Forse è questo il limite di un approccio “democratico” all’improvvisazione free che, pur garantendo l’equilibrio fra le voci in campo frustra a volte gli spunti solistici e impedisce a brani pur ben eseguiti di apparire più che meri esercizi stilistici: il tempo dirà se Paradoxical Frog, audace nell’intraprendere un percorso artistico lontano dalle tendenze di mercato, saprà dissipare queste poche ombre che lo separano da un definitivo salto di qualità.
http://italia.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=9154

Jazz.pt review by João Moço

CF 262Paradoxical Frog  – Union (CF 262)
Em certos momentos, a pianista Kris Davis como que “cita” Thelonious Monk. Já Ingrid Laubrock traz, por vezes, à memória Anthony Braxton. Seja como for, a música presente no segundo álbum do trio Paradoxical Frog (agora com Tyshawn Sorey na bateria) não é, de todo, deficitária nas idiossincrasias dos seus intervenientes.
Cada um contribui com composições suas, o que torna ainda mais surpreendente a forma como estes músicos conseguem, em crescendo, tornar peças aparentemente fragmentadas em estruturas fortes de jazz.
http://www.jazz.pt/ponto-escuta/2013/04/06/paradoxical-frog-union-clean-feed/

Expresso and Cuíca Dodecafónica review by João Santos

CF 262Paradoxical Frog – Union (CF 262)
O espécime parecia um provocatório oximoro e, de facto, a audição, em 2010, do ensaio inaugural desta banda com filiação nominal na pseudis paradoxa – a rã que encolhe consideravelmente à medida que se vai tornando adulta, isto é, cujas crias são maiores do que os progenitores – confirmava uma inquietante tese empenhada em contrariar alguns dos princípios formais e idiomáticos associados à prática da música improvisada. Numa ocasional concatenação de vozes – solos, duos e trios em extensões tímbricas à primeira vista extemporâneas – que privilegiava uma coalescência mais textural do que melódica, a pianista Kris Davis, a saxofonista Ingrid Laubrock e o multi-instrumentista Tyshawn Sorey, predominantemente na bateria, teciam ondulantes e elípticos padrões, como uma anfíbia criatura enredando limos ao sabor da maré. E em composições discriminatórias, conseguiam também produzir a ilusão de que todos os seus constituintes, inclusivamente os contingentes a uma ação parcialmente indeterminada, eram essenciais. Deste “Union” pode, no mínimo, dizer-se que é ainda mais escrupuloso em seguir esse caminho que não só questiona a morfologia típica do trio de jazz como sugere algo que apenas este trio de jazz poderia criar. Uníssonos anunciativos, contrapontos pacientes, harmonias oblíquas, inesperadas dinâmicas, enfim, um conjunto de estratégias que geram estruturas enciclopédicas, informadas mais por um espírito de vanguarda do que propriamente por determinada escola, focando-se em raras tangentes – intervalos comuns em Thelonious Monk e Morton Feldman ou técnicas semelhantes em Anthony Braxton e Luciano Berio são o tipo de insensatas proposições que inspiram – de densidade variável que ocorrem num espaço de pura invenção e intriga, volátil e evanescente, preciso e espontâneo, pleno de possibilidades.
http://www.cuicadodecafonica.blogspot.pt/2013/03/paradoxical-frog-union-clean-feed-2012.html

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ImproJazz review by Luc Bouquet

Paradoxical

Gapplegate Music review by Grego Edwards

CF 262Paradoxical Frog - Union (CF 262)
Paradoxical Frog returns with a second album, Union (Clean Feed 262), that continues in a way where the first left off (see earlier review on these pages via the search box at the top of the page). It’s a trio of Kris Davis, piano, Ingrid Laubrock, tenor and soprano sax, and Tyshawn Sorey, drums and also melodica and trombone for this outing. It’s a very serious venture of high modernist composition/freedom, all three contributing their pieces and all three performing with collective and individual strength and originality.  Kris Davis plays carefully thought-out, harmonically expansive lines that Ingrid Laubrock counters with her own personal take on modernity. Tyshawn Sorey is the percussive dynamo that he is, for this trio a meticulous sound sculptor as well as a driving force.   The music has the New Music spaciousness and control with some of the energy and propulsiveness of New Thing. It comes off very well because these are a well-matched, gifted threesome.   Music of the era. . . music without a commercial bone in its virtual body. . . music that stakes critical ground in the new age we live in. . . music you should hear.
http://gapplegatemusicreview.blogspot.pt/2013/02/paradoxical-frog-union.html

The New York City Jazz Record review by Wilbur MacKenzie

CF 262Paradoxical Frog – Union (CF 262)
Each member of Paradoxical Frog (pianist Kris Davis, saxist Ingrid Laubrock and drummer Tyshawn Sorey) is both player and composer and the band’s second album Union has the feel of a composers’ collective, each distinct voice working towards similar goals, albeit with different materials. After the spiky counterpoint of Sorey’s brief opener “An Intermittent Procession”, the trio’s esoteric, understated side comes out, as Laubrock’s “First Strike” could easily lead the listener to suspect they are in for a CD of bowed metal and barely-audible multiphonics. Davis’ “Fear the Fairy Dust”, however, brings plenty of exquisitely sculpted long-form composition and improvisational dynamics. Sorey’s “Figment 2012” unfolds gradually, calling to mind Bartók’s “Music for Strings Percussion and Celesta”. The band’s connection to improvisational and compositional traditions are intricately linked; the work of Jimmy Giuffre’s trio with Paul Bley and Steve Swallow comes to mind often, as does some of Anthony Braxton’s quartet activities in the ‘80s. The band’s sound, however, is very much defined by the individuals’ distinct voices. Davis’ second contributionis the title track, located just past the mid point. This is in some ways one of the more overtly jazz-oriented moments, though the way the melody works gradually from fragmentation towards cohesion is impressive (it’s nice to hear a composition intelligently work its way towards an idea rather than spending the duration working itself away from it). This piece finds its way to some very subtle sonic spaces and the band again affirms their distinct skill at fluctuating between chaos and order. On “Masterisk”, Laubrock continues to provide the more abstract compositional constructs while the final track, “Third Strike, You’re Out”, shows the band twisting around Laubrock’s unusual repetitive idea – a fitting final statement.

Otro Jazz best of 2012 list by Pedro Cesar Beas

CF 253Hugo Carvalhais Trio / Particula (Clean Feed)
Jason Robinson / Tiersian Symmetry (Cuneiform)
Wadada Leo Smith / Ten Freedom Summers (Cuneiform)
Eric Revis / Parallax (Clean Feed)
Marilyn Crispell / Play Braxton (Tzadik)
Vijay Iyer Trio / Accelerando (Act Music)
Wadada Leo Smith / Ancestors (TUM)
Empty Cage Quartet  (Prefecture)
Paradoxical Frog / Union (Clean Feed)
http://otrojazz.blogspot.pt/

Free Jazz review by Paul Acquaro

CF 262Paradoxical Frog – Union (CF 262)
****½
Not so long ago at the MOMA in NYC there was a featured exhibition called “Stop, Repair, Prepare: Variations on “Ode to Joy” for a Prepared Piano.” It was in a large open space of the museum, with stark white walls and high ceilings. In the middle of this space, there was a piano with a hole cut out of it just right for a human. At certain intervals a person would indeed emerge from inside the piano, reach forward and begin playing the keyboard while moving through the gallery.

When I first put on Paradoxical Frog’s Union, this is pretty much what I imagined was happening. From a panoply of tones that you have to listen hard to attribute to their source, the playing begins from within the instruments, slowly reaching out and interacting with the space it’s in.

The paradoxical frog, in fauna terms is an amphibian from South America, and in musical terms it is Kris Davis on piano, Ingrid Laubrock on tenor sax and Tyshawn Sorey on drums. Each brings a wonderful sense of tone, technical skills and compositions to the ensemble and this, their second release, is just fantastic. From the early formative sounds to the song snippets that emerge and dispel in their own time and space, the trio excels at creating music that is fresh and exciting while being warm and inviting — if not also a bit challenging. Slower songs like ‘Second Strike’, a dark hued free-form melody stretching over washes of percussion and abstract comping contrasts beautifully with more upbeat and determined tunes like ‘Union’. The combination of tempos and touch on ‘Masterisk’ makes for an exciting listen too.

Never unduly harsh, never overtly obviously, the songs unfold in their own lovely ways. The tones of Laubrock’s sax, the splash of Sorey’s cymbals and Davis’ original and melodic playing come together so nicely here.
http://freejazz-stef.blogspot.pt/

Free Jazz review by Paolo Casertano

CF 262Paradoxical Frog – Union (CF 262)
****½
What a fascinating album! If you have the chance, as I did, to listen to it in a rainy day and with a pair of comfortable headphones you will be immediately catapulted and wrapped in a warm hug of long notes and dilated atmospheres, highly lyrical and dramatic, but never melancholic.

Every musician takes his time to distil few powerful notes. It’s just as if the three of them are there thinking a lot, waiting, feeling the right moment, searching the right approach to say something really important to their companions. And they succeed in doing this for the whole work. Kris Davis on piano chooses short, meaningful phrases. Ingrid Laubrock has a magnetic tone, whispered and mesmerizing. I’d say feminine, even not knowing she’s a woman.

Tyshawn Sorey impresses me. You perceive his monolithic presence. He can be silent for minutes and when his drumming arrives it is rhythm made flesh. Feel it in ‘Second Strike’.

There are of course some more speedy episodes, as ‘Fear the Fairy Dust’, but the result is never frantic. This is, among the trio releases I’ve been lately listening to, maybe the closest to a spoken conversation. I have no other words to describe it. They would.

If I am allowed to do that, I will steal two ways of saying from our Stef. ‘Higly recommended’ and ‘this is jazz’!
http://freejazz-stef.blogspot.pt/

Cadence Magazine review by Gordon Hilton Fick

Samuel Blaser Quartet – Pieces of old Sky (CF 151)
Trombonist, Blaser, is joined by a trio of guitar, bass and drums. Not a common configuration. In addition to this recording, Blaser has recordings as leader on ‘Between the Lines’ and ‘Intakt’. He was also a co-leader on one of Paul Motian’s last recordings called ‘Consort in Motian’ on the Kind Of Blue label. Trombonist led albums have a way of either having quite wide appeal or being for specialists only. I judge this album under review to fit into the latter. For the opening tune, in particular, I am not thrilled with the trombone tone. I am sure that the leader has made this quite intentional. On the other hand, these four musicians invite you to pay close attention to their quiet and reflective environment. I do think that the opening piece goes on too long. Attention fails me. Their point was clearly made in the first eight minutes or so of this piece. Drummer, Sorey, gets my vote in the second piece called ‘Red Hook’ and the bassist, Morgan, has interesting messages to provide. Here, Blaser provides a vastly more interesting sound that reveals his huge chops and the listener is given more to chew on. A substantial and engaging piece of music. The next piece returns to a forlorn setting that wears me out quickly. Then, ‘Mystical Circle’ provides a rather academic and technical start that is then energized by Sorey.  However, it then takes me to a confused place and rebuilds for a time but, alas, offers no real sense of momentum. Maybe I continue to be thrown off by this recording with its stops, pauses and leaps forward to no seeming advantage. The next piece ‘Mandala’ nevertheless invites one to reconsider ‘It Ain’t Necessarily So’ but then takes one elsewhere. Excellent sound from the folks at Clean Feed. This record is a bit of an enigma to me after several tries. I would say there is considerable grounding for the future here. I sense better next steps will be found with these intriguing musicians.