Friday, November 19, 2010

Joe Morris and Luther Gray - Creatures (NotTwo, 2010)

Guitarist (and occasional bassist) Joe Morris and drummer Luther Gray have collaborated in a number of settings before, notably in the company of Petr Cancura on saxophone, with whom they made a couple of excellent albums last year. On this occasion they are a duo, creating music which develops in slowly and with nimble interaction building in the duet setting. They are like minded colleagues who share a sense of musical adventure, probing an exploring the sonic thicket they develop. "Creature Emotion" develops the improvisation, picking up the pace. building a nimble faster probing swirl, with Morris' guitar developing a cool almost African sounding tone. Sharps shards of guitar introduce "Creature Adventure" which is intricate and has kaleidoscopic twists and turns and rumbling percussion giving way to a lengthy and dexterous drum solo. "Creature Proportion" is a wonderful performance, fast and strong and free-wheeling, it captures the duo at their most inventing and exciting, a musical funhouse mirror of notes and beats. "Creature Influence" slows things down to an unsettled abstract pace, that is softer, muted and intricate. The music probes the darker regions of the spectrum, searching in a slow and spare manner. The lengthy "Creature Outlook" builds to a stronger feel with dexterous drums and bubbling guitar. Morris and Gray patiently build the tension, enveloping a nimble drum solo before coming back together to conclude the album. Guitar and drums duos are pretty rare, but in this situation the format works quite well. Morris and Gray eschew any flashy pyrotechnics, and dig deep into their collective music to create a fine and enjoyable album.Creatures -

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