Friday, July 5, 2013

Joe Morris, Agusti Fernandez, Nate Wooley, From the Discrete to the Particular

Joe Morris has become one of the very seminal free music guitarists out there today. He's written a book on playing free that I am reading right now, teaches at New England Conservatory and has made a large impact through many recordings and of course personal appearances. For the album on tap today he plays acoustic guitar (or at least it's his semi-hollow with little amplification, not sure) and joins in chamber free trio improvisations with trumpetmaster Nate Wooley (who has also become a centripetal force on his instrument) and pianist Augusti Fernandez, perhaps a lesser-known artist but fully at the level of the other two in his own way.

From the Discrete to the Particular (Relative Pitch 1008) brings the three together live at Firehouse 12 in New Haven in 2011. The triple-tiered interplay can get downright contrapuntal, which is only logical given the players and what they tend to do. But at all times there are various zone interactions going on, each player plotting out an aural spot and then working off the other two in the zones they establish. Seven individual pieces vary the freedom in ways that keep it interesting and exciting.

The harmonic texture of the music primarily comes out of the overlapping, interacting melody lines. The high inventive level of those lines and how they work as a triumvarate is what makes the music come through, makes it all "pop" so to speak. And pop it certainly does. The threesome have chosen their version of the open road; they challenge each other to get spontaneous chamber combustion on a continuous basis, and it happens. This is not easy music to do well. It is a tribute to the musical ears and imagination of the players that they succeed, that they plummet the hurdles of free playing in tandem. This music is vital!

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