Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sorey does cut it // Academy fight song

Tyshawn Sorey and his quartet played an excellent set at Jazz Gallery last eve, to formally commemorate the release of the outstanding "that/not" available from Firehouse 12. Laal and i caught the first set and it was extremely packed, which made me happy. as previously reported, that double-disc set was one of my very favorite records of last year and there was an extended period during which it seemed to be glued in my Discman (RIP, since subbed out for iPod!).

anyway, the overall vibe of the show was meditative, in keeping with the record. there were a few breaks in the set, but overall there was a continuous flow happening--very long, mysterious ballad-like constructions played tautly and with a lot of mystery. Tyshawn is an intensely precise player and every gesture--whether it's hitting the butt end of the stick on the ride bell or flapping his brushes in the air for a swishing effect--carries an enormous amount of weight. it was cool to see him directing traffic with intense glances in the other players' directions. trombonist Ben Gerstein is great to watch and to hear, a very animated and searching player--his duo Moth, with Sam Hillmer of Zs, is well worth your time. bassist Thomas Morgan and pianist Cory Smythe played excellently as well; w/ Smythe in particular it really felt like he was inhabiting the music.

even after seeing this stuff live (the set consisted mostly of pieces from the record, though there were a few i didn't recognize), i still don't feel like i have any more of an idea how exactly it's put together. the compositions flow absolutely seamlessly into the improvising--as i wrote earlier, the music just feels sort of eternal and unbound by time, like you're wading into a stream that'll keep going long after you've gotten out. silly simile there, but the logic here is unique and strange and wondrous. can't wait to hear what Sorey comes up w/ next.


Oscars! i actually am kind of excited, b/c i've seen four of the five Best Picture nominees. loved No Country, thought Daniel Day-Lewis ruled but that otherwise There Will Be Blood was kind of narratively limp, loved Michael Clayton (what a strange, complex, out-of-left-field flick; but i'll eat up anything w/ Sydney Pollack), and thought Juno was cute but ultimately kind of nauseating (it lays on the indie-(rock) quirk with a trowel; kudos to Jason Bateman though for an awesome turn as a fading rocker dude).

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