Monday, November 26, 2007

Talent Alert: Tyshawn Sorey

Tyshawn Sorey Quartet: That/Not (Firehouse 12, FH 12-04-02-oo5, 2007)

Tyshawn Sorey is a young (b. 1980) multi-instrumentalist and composer who has been making a name for himself playing with such notable figures as Butch Morris, Dave Douglas, Muhal Richard Abrams, Hamiet Bluiett, and Anthony Braxton, plus as a member of Fieldwork with pianist Vijay Iyer and saxophonist Steve Lehman. I first noticed him drumming on the Sirone Bang Ensemble's Configuration from 2005, and doing a pretty decent job at that.

Sorey has just released his first record as a leader. It is called That/Not and is released by Firhouse 12, a New Haven label which also functions as a live venue. Sorey says about the album:

"This record is very different from the work that I do with other ensembles, (...) I am a drummer who composes music; the function of this album is not a demonstration of my abilities as a drummer, but my interests as an artist. My objective with this music is to question who and why we are, to question the very nature of what it means to perceive something. The music here is our life and soul expressed in sound."

Ambitious fella, but the record is very interesting indeed. It explores the use of space, minimalism and repetition in a way that makes me think of Steve Reich. In between are dynamic bursts of more songlike structures - mostly quiet and sombre, others more forceful - that hints more than it plays to the jazz tradition, much in the same way William Parker's excellent 90's records did. Well done, and I'm looking forward to hear more from mr. Tyshawn Sorey.

The album can be streamed in it's entirety from the label's website (follow the link above), and purchased from Amazon and Downtown Music Gllery among others.

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