Joe Morris Trio | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Joe Morris Trio 

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There's no doubt left in my mind that Joe Morris is the most distinctive jazz guitarist of his time. While there are a few things you can generally expect of him--single-note runs and solos that rely on melody no matter how avant-garde the setting--a deluge of recordings in the last couple of years has made plain not only that Morris sounds like no one else, but that he rarely repeats a move. Three Men Walking (ECM), recorded with reedist Joe Maneri and his son, violinist Mat Maneri, feels decidedly chamberlike--hushed restraint, gentle lyricism, and beautiful intimacy. Invisible Weave (No More), a brand-new duo recording with bassist William Parker, is a much more prickly affair, in which the guitarist explores a longtime interest in traditional African stringed instruments in a series of lengthy, often jarring pieces. But You Be Me (Soul Note), recorded with Mat Maneri, bassist Nate McBride, and drummer Curt Newton, gives the best preview of what Morris will be doing when he plays this week with McBride and drummer Jerry Deupree. It's vaguely free-boppish, particularly in the deft interactions between McBride and Newton, and the improvisations, like all of Morris's work, are full of surprises. Thursday, November 13, 8:30 PM, Unity Temple, 875 Lake, Oak Park; 708-383-8873. PETER MARGASAK

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo by Steven Joerg.


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