AMN Reviews

AMN Reviews: Jennifer Curtis & Tyshawn Sorey – Invisible Ritual [New Focus Recordings]

Invisible Ritual, a set of freely improvised duets for composer/violinist Jennifer Curtis and composer/percussionist Tyshawn Sorey, represents a creative meeting of fiddle music and the improvisational avant-garde. Although Curtis and Sorey derive from different traditions, they easily converge on the substantial territory where those traditions overlap.

As these eight tracks demonstrate, one of the basic features fiddling and the jazz avant-garde share is a propulsive energy. Curtis’ brisk bow work pushes her into the tension-filled, expressionistic realm of rhythm in rapid forward motion, where Sorey meets her in a splash of colorful cymbal work. Curtis artfully deploys repeated motifs, regular phrasing and open-string harmonic anchors to provide a structural foundation for her work, which Sorey complements with an underpinning of free yet solid pulse. On the third, fifth and sixth tracks Sorey switches to piano, which he takes through a diverse set of moods and styles: sparsely ponderous dissonances on III, frenetic, staccato runs up and down the keyboard on V, and a lushly romantic sound on VI. The final track, a contemplative improvisation in which cymbals, bells and/or gongs meld with pizzicato strings for a muted, gamelan-like effect, highlights Curtis and Sorey’s ability to create a vivid atmosphere with timbre.

Daniel Barbiero

Performances Reviews

Improvised Silence Amid the Sounds at the Stone

Tyshawn Sorey at Stain Bar, Brooklyn
Image by dalvinyard via Flickr reviews Tyshawn Sorey at the Stone.

The drummer Tyshawn Sorey confounds easy assumptions, including the assumption that because he is a drummer, his own music should favor the drums, or the assumption that because he plays jazz, all of his music should sound like jazz. His new band is a trio with guitar and bass, but it’s pretty far from any standard model with that setup.

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Ingrid Laubrock
Image via Wikipedia


August 04, 2009
Kris Davis Solo Piano, The Stone
Kris Davis, Bruce Lee Gallanter, Tony Malaby, Tyshawn Sorey

August 03, 2009
Laurie Anderson & Colin Stetson, The Stone
Laurie Anderson, Colin Stetson, Marc Urselli

August 02, 2009
Ingrid Laubrock, Tyshawn Sorey, Kris Davis, The Stone
Kris Davis, Ingrid Laubrock, Tyshawn Sorey
Mostly Other People Do The Killing, The Local 269
Moppa Elliott, Peter Evans, Jon Irabagon, Kevin Shea
Jeff Platz, Kit Demos, Daniel Carter, John McLellan, The Local 269
Daniel Carter, Kit Demos, John McLellan, Jeff Platz
Giacomo Merega, Noah Kaplan, Marco Cappelli, Downtown Music Gallery
Marco Cappelli, Noah Kaplan, Giacomo Merega

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Releases Reviews

Tyshawn Sorey’s New Album Featured and Previewed

From Destination Out:

We’re pleased to continue previews of extraordinary upcoming albums with several tracks from Tyshawn Sorey’s Koan, which will be released in September on 482 Music.

Tyshawn Sorey is best known as an extraordinary drummer, having performed with Muhal Richard Abrams, Mark Helias, Butch Morris, Steve Lehman, Dave Douglas, Steve Coleman, Wadada Leo Smith, and many others. The New York Times recently dubbed him one of “five drummers whose time is now.” But Sorey’s composition skills are equally formidable, evidenced on his work in Fieldwork (a collaborative project with Steve Lehman and Vijay Iyer) and his solo debut That/Not.

He’s taken a new turn on Koan – de-emphasizing drums, spotlighting guitars, and embracing an almost minimalist aesthetic. The tunes are hauntingly spare, radiating a gentle beauty where each gesture carries maximum weight. You can get a sense of the album’s range from the brief solo guitar piece “Only One Sky” and the open improvisational environment of “Correct Truth.”

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Ten Questions with Steve Lehman

From Glowing Realm:

Steve Lehman is a composer/alto saxophonist living in NY. I first saw him as part of Anthony Braxton’s 12 1tet at the Iridium in 2006, and since then have really gotten into his music. His writing is very complex, but clear enough to be easily digestible. He also has a knack for coming up with great concepts and translating them clearly to an improvised setting. On his latest album Travail, Transformation and Flow Lehman leads an Octet of musicians (featuring Ten Questions alum Tyshawn Sorey and former VCU’er Mark Shim) through a set of music derived from studies in spectral harmony. There’s a great description here, and it sounds complicated, but the resulting music sounds amazing from start to finish. Also, the album features a cover of GZA’s masterpiece “Living in the World Today,” and what collection of spectral harmony music would be complete without it!

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Ten Questions with Tyshawn Sorey

From Glowing Realm:

Tyshawn Sorey is a NY based composer and drummer. He first came to my attention as the drummer in pianist Vijay Iyer’s Quartet on the “Blood Sutra” album. He still plays with Iyer in the trio Fieldwork, with Steve Lehman rounding out the trio on sax. When Sorey’s debut as a leader came out on Firehouse 12 Records, I kind of freaked out about it here. It was so unlike anything I expected after hearing him in other contexts, and pretty much blew me away.

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Firehouse 12 To Present Pete Robbins/Mario Pavone/Tyshawn Sorey April 3rd

From Improvised Communications:

On Friday, April 3rd, Firehouse 12 will present the collective trio of saxophonist Pete Robbins, bassist Mario Pavone and drummer Tyshawn Sorey. Brought together by Robbins, a former labelmate of Pavone’s and frequent collaborator of Sorey’s in the band sILENT Z, the year-old intergenerational group, and its completely improvised music, is a rare departure from its well-known members’ other current projects. This two-set performance is a warm-up for the band’s debut recording session the following day.

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