Jazz, Modern Creative, Modern Free, Avant-Garde Jazz, Post-Bop

Album Review

For a collectively improvised date, this feels like these three cats rehearsed for weeks. It swings -- hard, bluesy, and from the heart. The trio, with bassist Morris at the helm, includes the late Denis Charles and the late Charles Tyler, recorded in 1981. There are five tracks here, featuring three musicians at the absolute height of their powers as individuals as well as collectively. Beginning with "Two Fives for a Dime" by Morris, with Tyler kicking through a gorgeous, bluesy vamp to open the melody, Morris follows up the blues with a pizzicato run on hard, funk/bop Horace Silver-style and Charles strides the time while filling with a tasty run of high-hat, snare, and ride cymbal fills. Extensions of color and theme abound as the three wind through, around, and over each other to keep Morris' theme from getting old. Tyler is particularly impressive, moving the harmonics to include Eastern scales in the intervals and constructing a soft spot for an ever-present space for a backbeat to exist that never gets filled. The ballad "Flamingo" by Ted Grouya is used as a setting for Tyler to play baritone in a subtonal manner. He states his phrases sparingly, allowing for Charles and Morris to over the changes and beats without obstruction or decoration; his mournful, sensitive playing is heightened by Morris playing accents under every line to extend the range of emotion. Tyler quotes "Blue Moon" in the middle of the melody, turning both in on themselves and coming up with a harmonic extension of both in B flat. This is a beautiful recording -- one we are fortunate to have among the all too few that feature Morris or Tyler.
Thom Jurek, Rovi