Joe Morris Trio: Antennae CD
Joe Morris plays the guitar unlike anyone else – ever – and has been doing so for four decades. Playing with a very clean tone (no fx boxes or pedals), his work builds energy through precise articulation and phrasing, rather than volume or other theatrics. For comparative description, It's actually easier to compare him to horn players like Jimmy Lyons or Eric Dolphy, next to both of whom he stands tall. The guitar-bass-drums trio format remains a favorite for Joe Morris; one that he has most amply documented in a highly diverse oevre that stretches back to his first (self-released) album in 1983. Within this format, Morris' singularly profound gifts as a player are full to the fore. His band here is also in top form and stunning throughout. And the compositions! Joe Morris writes gorgeous tunes with a beckoning sense of mystery. This album, originally released in November 1997, completed that year's New Jazz Trilogy Nonpareil (together with David S. Ware's 'Wisdom of Uncertainty' and William Parker's 'Sunrise in The Tone World'). Press responses from that time follow..
"He has hot-wired American primitivism and post-modern structuralism to create not just an innovative guitar style, but a far-reaching new music aesthetic. Morris' music taps a lot of roots simultaneously; some are as old as music itself, and some are too new to have a name." –Bill Shoemaker, JazzTimes
"Morris has gone to the avant-garde well to test the brink of improvisational reason, but at the same time developed a quintessential jazz-guitar tone, dark and dulcet, its vibrato squarely modulated and inimical to sonic overkill. If Ornette Coleman were Jim Hall, he would be Joe Morris." –Gary Giddins, Weatherbird/Village Voice
"Musicians who extend the vocabulary of jazz as well as the technical possibilities of their instruments are rare, but guitarist Joe Morris surely meets both criteria. On "Antennae," he offers a volatile musical idiom so sophisticated and unconventional that it renders Schoenberg's 12-tone system simplistic by comparison. At the same time, Morris articulates fast running passages with a clarity, speed, and nuance that few guitarists could match." –Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune
"With Antennae, guitarist Joe Morris steps up production on a body of work that stands and walks with giants." –Spike Taylor, Exclaim!