Thursday, February 23, 2012

Joe Morris Wildlife - Traits (Riti, 2011)

Bassist (and guitarist, just not on this album) Joe Morris leads an exciting quartet with Luther Gray on drums, Petr Cancura on tenor saxophone on and Jim Hobbs on alto saxophone on this collectively improvised program. The band is assertive and communicative throughout combining energy music exemplified by the exciting free blowouts of "Howling" and Territorial" playing off against three more open and abstract performances. Breathing the air around them and exploring the music gracefully in the heat of the moment by creating spontaneously, the music is accepting of change and allows itself to flow organically as the members of the band pace themselves to build up the musical tension dynamically. Both saxophonists are by turns raw and graceful, spooling out lines of sound that are continuously moving while Gray prods them ruthlessly. With harshness and beauty coexisting side-by-side, Morris is the pivot around which all of this beautiful cacophony circulates, changing and adapting as the moment indicates. The music has heart and intellect and the balance between those two feelings gives much passion to its journey. Cooperation, not uniformity is the key to this very successful recording, with four distinctive voices joining as one to create powerful and heartening sounds. Traits -

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