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Today On Earth by Joe Morris Quartet

Joe Morris picks up his electric guitar for this multifaceted progressive-jazz endeavor, while switch-hitting as a bassist in recent years. He gained prominence via his fluid and boundlessly creative guitar work, spanning the 1980s and beyond. Here, he leads a quartet through bop and free-bop amid shades of modern mainstream and the avant-garde. He doesn’t limit the musical perimeters but somewhat triumphantly projects an intricate web of propositions via a highly-listenable engagement, teaming with curves, dips and airy undertones. Morris instills a stylistic merger of numerous persuasions on this superb 2009 session, which marks the quartet’s second recording.

Morris notes that the album title correlates his propensity.... "to have a simple instant of realization, a second reflection about our lives standing on this planet." These words should serve most of us rather well, and the upbeat vibe transforms into the program via the power of music and the forward-moving impetus enacted by the quartet. Loaded with gusto and dynamics, the musicians use space as a vantage point, to coincide with their animated and edgy soloing jaunts. They expand themes, but it’s not solely embedded by a free-form group-centric gait, as many of these works contain memorable hooks and a democratic methodology.

Featuring a set of works based on the musicians stewing interplay and zestful interactions, there are no train wrecks, or modes of rambling expressionism It’s cohesive yet at times, asymmetrical in scope. Morris and his band-mates often work within mid-tempo bop metrics, but lower the temperature on the solemn and inquisitive piece "Observer," where drummer Luther Gray’s tom rolls offers a gently rolling undercurrent. Although, Morris and alto saxophonist Jim Hobbs open it up with contrapuntal and contrasting solos. Then on "Ashes," the quartet pronounces angst partly due to Hobb’s gruff lines. On Today On Earth, the quartet reverses the darkness and foreboding gestures of anything that intimates negativity, while cascading a radiantly prismatic air of musicality throughout the largely cunning string of events.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Joe Morris Quartet
  • CD Title: Today On Earth
  • Genre: Progressive
  • Year Released: 2009
  • Record Label: AUM Fidelity
  • Musicians: Joe Morris (guitar), Jim Hobbs (alto saxophone), Timo Shanko (bass), Luther Gray (drums)
  • Rating: Four Stars
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