Tag Archives: Joe Morris Quartet

Jazz.pt Best of 2014 list by Critics Poll

Os melhores de 2014

Mais um ano de crise, mais demonstrações de criatividade. Eis o balanço feito pela equipa da jazz.pt dos 12 meses que passaram, com os melhores entre os melhores e as listas individuais de quem escreve esta revista. Conclusão principal: no que à música nacional diz respeito, a colheita de 2014 foi de especial qualidade.

Melhores discos internacionais
CF306 CF302 CF301

Joe Morris Quartet: “Balance” (Clean Feed)
Vijay Iyer: “Mutations” (ECM)
Keith Jarrett / Charlie Haden: “Last Dance” (ECM)
Wadada Leo Smith: “The Great Lakes Suites” (TUM)
1982: “A/B” (Hubro)
Gorilla Mask: “Bite My Blues” (Clean Feed)
Fire! Orchestra: “Enter!” (Rune Grammofon)
The Bad Plus: “Inevitable Western” (Okeh)
Marc Ribot Trio: “Live at The Village Vanguard” (Pi)
Nigel Coombes / Steve Beresford: “White String’s Attached” (Emanem)
Steve Lehman Octet: “Mise en Abîme” (Pi)
Pharoah & The Underground: “Spiral Mercury” (Clean Feed)
Daunik Lazro / Benjamin Duboc / Didier Lasserre: “Sens Radiants” (Dark Tree Records)

Melhores discos nacionais
CF295 CF297 CF312CD

Rodrigo Amado Motion Trio & Peter Evans: “The Freedom Principle” (NoBusiness)
Sei Miguel: “Salvation Modes” (Clean Feed)
Luís Vicente / Rodrigo Pinheiro / Hernâni Faustino / Marco Franco: “Clocks & Clouds” (FMR)
Nate Wooley / Hugo Antunes / Chris Corsano: “Malus” (NoBusiness)
Rodrigo Amado: “Wire Quartet” (Clean Feed)
João Guimarães: “Zero” (TOAP)
João Lencastre’s Communion: “What is This All About?” (Auand)
João Hasselberg: “Truth Has to Be Given in Riddles” (Ed. de Autor)
Coreto: “Mergulho” (Carimbo Porta-Jazz)
Bande à Part: “Caixa-Prego” (Creative Sources)
Joel Silva: “Geyser” (Sintoma Records)
Vicente/Marjamaki: “Opacity” (JACC Records)
Luís Lopes Lisbon-Berlin Trio: “The Line” (Clean Feed)
Fail Better!: “Zero Sum” (JACC Records)


Free Jazz Best of 2014

Albums of the Year – 2014
So another year and another 1500 albums considered for review (and that’s just the ones we actually added to the list!). Taking a quick look back: this year Julian, Matthew, Chris, Ed, Antonio, Stefan, Josh, and Hugo joined the review team and we recently welcomed Eyal and Alfonso – you’ll be seeing more of them soon. 2014 also saw Martin Schray bringing the Free Jazz Blog to the air on SWR2, public radio in southern Germany. His next show is on the 9th of January (stay tuned for more info on that!). Finally, thanks to all of you, we’re seeing upwards of 75,000 page views a month and have a growing subscriber base … all we can (and should) say is thank you everyone and keep listening!

And now here it is … our hotly anticipated top ten list of albums of the year, tallied and calculated from the collective’s personal top 10 album choices (listed below):

The Free Jazz Collective Top-10 albums of 2014

1.Steve Lehman Octet – Mise en Abîme
2.Akira Sakata, Johan Berthling, Paal Nilssen-Love – Arashi
3.Jemeel Moondoc – The Zookeeper’s House
4.Angles 9 – Injuries (CF 303)
5.Audio One – An International Report
6.Farmers By Nature – Love and Ghosts
7.Ken Vandermark/Paal Nilssen-Love Duo – Lightning Over Water
8.Marc Ribot Trio – Live at the Village Vanguard
9.Wadada Leo Smith – The Great Lakes Suites
10.Jeremiah Cymerman – Pale Horse / Lotte Anker & Jakob Riis – Squid Police

Troy Dostert
CF 292

1.Steve Lehman Octet, Mise en Abîme
2.Marty Ehrlich Large Ensemble – Trumpet in the Morning
3.Franco D’Andrea Sextet – Monk and the Time Machine
4.Kris Davis Trio – Waiting for You to Grow (CF 292)
5.Ivo Perelman – The Other Edge
6.Ken Vandermark/Paal Nilssen-Love Duo – Lightning Over Water
7.Peter Van Huffel – Boom Crane
8.Angles 9 – Injuries
9.Max Johnson – Invisible Trio
10.Audio One – An International Report

Julian Eidenberger

1.Akira Sakata, Johan Berthling, Paal Nilssen-Love – Arashi
2.Kyle Bruckmann’s Wrack – … Awaits Silent Tristero’s Empire
3.Steve Lehman Octet – Mise en Abîme
4.Anthony Braxton, Tom Rainey, Tomas Fujiwara – Trio New Haven 2013
5.Audio One – An International Report
6.Many Arms with Colin Fisher – Suspended Definition
7.Lean Left – Live at Area Sismica
8.Joe Morris Quartet – Balance (CF 306)
9.Yoni Kretzmer, Pascal Niggenkemper, Weasel Walter – Protest Music
10.Wadada Leo Smith, Jamie Saft, Joe Morris, Balázs Pándi – Red Hill

Matthew Grigg
CF300LPSHH 010
1.Pharoah & the Underground – Spiral Mercury/Primative Jupiter (CF 300)
2.Audio One – An International Report/The Midwest School
3.Nicole Mitchell’s Black Earth Ensemble – Xenogenesis II: Intergalactic Beings
4.Nate Wooley, Hugo Antunes, Chris Corsano – Malus
5.Thurston Moore, Gabriel Ferrandini, Pedro Sousa – Live at ZDB (SHH 010)
6.Peter Evans Quintet – Destination:Void
7.Broetzmann, Adasiewicz, Edwards, Noble – Mental Shake
8.Roscoe Mitchell/Mike Reed – In Pursuit of Magic
9.Jason Ajemain, Tony Malaby, Rob Mazurek, Chad Taylor – A Way A Land of Life
10.Marc Ribot Trio – Live at the Village Vanguard

Chris Haines
CF306CF295  CF2941.Joe Morris Quartet – Balance (CF 306)
2.Sei Miguel – Salvation Modes (CF 295)
3.Eric Revis – In Memory of Things Yet Seen (CF 294)
4.Jakob Thorkild Trio – Art Sleaze
5.Tisziji Munoz – Star Worlds
6.Ken Aldcroft – Threads 10/09/11
7.Marc Ribot – Live at the Village Vanguard
8.Andymusic – Heavydance
9.Tomas Fujiwara Trio – Variable Bets
10.Tellef Ogrim & Anders Berg – November

Antonio Poscic

1.Wadada Leo Smith – The Great Lakes Suites
2.Steve Lehman Octet – Mise en Abîme
3.DKV Trio – Sound in Motion in Sound
4.Farmers By Nature – Love and Ghosts
5.Lotte Anker & Jakob Riis – Squid Police
6.Jeremiah Cymerman – Pale Horse
7.Angles 9 – Injuries (CF 303)
8.Tyshawn Sorey Trio – Alloy
9.Zion 80 – Adramelech: Book of Angels, Vol. 22
10.Jemeel Moondoc – The Zookeeper’s House

Dan Sorrells
1.Daunik Lazro, Benjamin Duboc, Didier Lassere – Sens Radiants
2.Wacław Zimpel To Tu Orchestra – Nature Moves
3.Benjamin Duboc – St. James Infirmary
4.Zanussi Five – Live in Coimbra (CF 314)
5.Angles 9 – Injuries (CF 303)
6.Max Johnson, Ingrid Laubrock, Mat Maneri, Tomas Fujiwara – The Prisoner
7.Keir Neuringer – Ceremonies Out of the Air
8.Jeremiah Cymerman, Evan Parker, Nate Wooley – World of Objects
9.RED Trio & Mattias Ståhl – North and the Red Stream
10.Michael Francis Duch – Tomba Emmanuelle

Hugo Truyens
1.De Beren Gieren & Susana Santos Silva – The Detour Fish (CF 317)
2.1000 + 1 – Butterfly Garden
3.East of the Sun – ICP Orchestra
4.Os Meus Shorts – Os Meus Shorts II
5.Sylvain Rifflet & Jon Irabagon – Perpetual Motion (A Celebration of Moondog)
6.Baloni – Belleke (CF 305)
7.Ideal Bread Beating The Teens – Songs Of Steve Lacy
8.Franco D’Andrea Sextet – Monk and the Time Machine
9.Marc Ribot Trio – Live at the Village Vanguard
10.Sylvie Courvoisier – Mark Feldman Quartet Birdies for Lulu


Le Son du Grisli review by Luc Bouquet

CF306Joe Morris Quartet – Balance (CF 306)
Les cordes s’éveillent, tâtonnent, s’effondrent (Thought). Les tempos sont mouvants, la caisse claire est lourde d’une solitude lointaine, les cordes fredonnent une élasticité brumeuse. Violon et guitares tondent le contrechant. La contrebasse bourdonne. Le matériau est flasque, amolli (Effort).

La microtonalité perdue se retrouve. La ballade ricane de son peu de tendresse. Le royaume est étendu, relâché, flottant (Trust). La contrebasse retrouve marques et racines. Tous croisent le véloce. Ça tangue, ça fourmille. Le violon strie on ne sait quel horizon (Purpose). Bienveillants, les musiciens donnent une dernière chance à la ballade. L’apesanteur aura raison d’elle (Substance). Et l’on bavarde, on soliloque, on s’ouvre à l’autre. La batterie explose (Meaning).

Ainsi s’invitèrent Joe Morris, Mat Maneri, Chris Lightcap et Gerald Cleaver en un studio new-yorkais, le 13 décembre 2013. Ce n’était pas la première fois, ce ne sera pas la dernière.


Free Jazz review by Chris Haines

CF306Joe Morris Quartet – Balance (CF 306)
Joe Morris is probably the most important guitarist working within free music at present. He has a wealth of recordings dating back over the last three decades and has been particularly prolific with various projects during the last few years. However, for me, I always feel that he produces his most important work in his quartet format. This particular recording pulls together his string-based quartet of Mat Maneri (viola), Chris Lightcap (bass), Gerald Cleaver (drums) and himself on electric guitar. This is the same line-up that produced the extraordinary album Underthru, and the same instrumentation as the excellent A Cloud Of Black Birds.

Joe Morris has a unique style and nobody else quite sounds like him especially when he is playing electric guitar in a more free jazz type setting, which as you would expect from this line-up is the mode of expression explored on this album. With the instrumentation that is involved the music has a chamber feel at times, particularly on the more introspective pieces such as Trust, but can be equally full-on as well. As with all good quartet writing and playing the focus is shared throughout the instrumentation and each musical personality comes to the fore right the way through the album, giving good contrast and balance to the material and the album as a whole.

All the pieces appear quite aptly titled with the first piece Thought being a complex but static texture that bubbles underneath the surface as if the ensemble is contemplating the musical excursion to come. This then moves into the second track Effort, which in contrast to the first piece contains a lot more ideas, textures and interplay. Although all tracks have single word titles I wouldn’t say that the musical pieces are summed-up by them, but rather give the listener a starting point which the music illustrates and explores further. This seems like an obvious thing to say, but I listen to so much music that doesn’t do this that when I finally hear music that does it so well it’s so refreshing to dwell on this simple fact. As you would expect from four excellent improvisers the playing contained within is a delight to listen to with Morris and Maneri being on particularly good form and shouldering the responsibility of holding down most of the foreground material.

Although showing what could be considered abstract tendencies the music seems to be contained by larger forms and alludes to fast bop-type pieces as well as ballad-like forms, chamber pieces, and free improvisations, which are all spun through Morris’s personal musical vision and incredible technique, resulting in the type of sound-world that only he can muster in this way. If you have heard his free jazz styled music before, (although Morris would consider all his music to be just ‘free music’ with no distinction) then you won’t be disappointed by Balance. If you haven’t heard a Joe Morris album before then this wouldn’t be a bad place to start, although I personally feel that Underthru just has the edge on it. However, this is a very welcome release from an important improvising musician, whom for my money works at his best within this particular format.


The Big City Best of 2014 list by Bill Meyer’s

Best Jazz Albuns of 2014
Best New Releases:

1 Steve Lehman Octet, Mise En Abîme (Pi)
2 Trio 3 & Vijay Iyer, Wiring (Intakt)
CF3063 Joe Mor­ris Quar­tet, Bal­ance (Clean Feed)
4 Mark Turner Quar­tet, Lathe of Heaven (ECM)
5 Ken Thom­son and Slow/Fast, Set­tle (NCM East)
6 Fred Her­sch Trio, Float­ing (MRI)
7 Tom Har­rell, The Audi­to­rium Ses­sion (Parco Della Musica)
8 Jochen Ruek­ert, We Make the Rules (Whirlwind)
CF 2939 Kul­ham­mar, Aal­berg, Zetter­berg, Base­ment Ses­sions Vol. 2 (Clean Feed)
10 PRISM Quar­tet, People’s Emer­gency Cen­ter (Innova)


All About Jazz review by Glenn Astarita

CF306Joe Morris Quartet – Balance (CF 306)
After several albums and great synergy, guitarist Joe Morris disbanded the quartet in 2000 with many of his associates stating it was a “terrible idea.” For this reunion, the musicians’ artistic evolution surges on via a conglomeration of diminutive and soaring theme-building episodes, asymmetrical footprints, and staggered detours, instilling a continual sense of anticipation.

The gala is off to a rousing start on “Thought,” fostered by Mat Maneri’s buzzing viola passages, and the unit’s synchronous improvisational attack, as the musicians’ fluent, Johnny-on-the spot courses of action remain a constant throughout. However, they temper the pulse with the brooding “Trust,” where Morris’ dark-toned electric lines, executed with twirling flurries and intricately devised constructions, form a clustering effect atop bassist Chris Lightcap’s huge bottom. Otherwise, the band abides by a fast and furious gait as they navigate through a maze of micro-motifs, churning out cohesive statements along the way.

The quartet closes the program with the twelve-minute “Meaning,” instigated by Morris’ flickering notes; Lightcap’s linear phrasings and shrewd counterbalancing techniques. Drummer Gerald Cleaver’s textural cymbals swashes help broaden the backdrop, as Maneri rides above the musical horizon amid a fractured and twisting solo spot. Hence, the ensemble works toward a centralized focus, while gradually narrowing the overall soundscape in spots. Cleaver also imparts a sweeping solo in the bridge section, ratifying an expansive plane to complement the effervescent groove. Among other positives, Morris’ quartet is a unit you can count on for extending the limits of whatever improvisational model(s) they process, coinciding with the artists’ dynamic interactions and dizzying rhythmical measures.


Jazz.pt review by Nuno Catarino

CF306Joe Morris Quartet – Balance (CF 306)
O novo “Balance” marca o regresso de Joe Morris ao seu quarteto dos anos 1990. A guitarra de Morris volta a contar com a companhia de Mat Maneri na viola, Chris Lightcap no contrabaixo e Gerald Cleaver na bateria. O prolongado tempo de hibernação não se faz notar e, com toda a naturalidade, a elevada qualidade dos instrumentistas acaba por encontrar paralelo na dimensão colectiva da música. Segundo Morris escreve nas “liner notes” que para estúdio levou apenas algumas ideias melódicas para a sua guitarra, deixando os seus parceiros a improvisar sem qualquer referência. A verdade é que o quarteto cedo revela uma magnífica união, sem necessidade de material escrito para encontrar a orientação comum.

Morris tem um raro som aveludado, como que vindo de outra época, mas encaixando-se na perfeição em qualquer ambiente, e até em música completamente aberta. A viola de Mat Maneri confirma tudo o que se disse sobre este ao longo das últimas duas décadas. Chris Lightcap é, sem dúvida, um dos grandes deste século. Além de inúmeras colaborações, editou o óptimo “Deluxe” na “nossa” Clean Feed. A bateria de Gerald Cleaver é capaz de uma versatilidade rítmica sem limites.

A secção rítmica não se mostra apenas sólida como também inventiva, lançando faíscas a todo o momento. Morris encontra em Maneri um companheiro à altura, fervilhante de ideias, numa parceria que emana fulgor. Entre estes quatro músicos – Morris, Maneri, Lightcap e Cleaver – a comunicação é permanente. Assistimos a um diálogo constante que faz a música evoluir de forma consistente, sem choques, com toda a segurança.

Uma das faixas mais interessantes (e algo atípica no alinhamento) é a terceira, “Trust”. Neste tema lento a percussão de Cleaver fica-se pelas vassouras, o contrabaixo de Lightcap é um eixo central (primeiro no arco, depois na pulsão como motor), a viola de Maneri deixa-se levar pela imaginação e a guitarra de Morris contrapõe notas sóbrias. Bem fez Morris ao ressuscitar este quarteto de boa memória. Desmentindo a ideia popular, nunca é tarde para se voltar aos locais onde já se foi feliz.