January 12, 2013
by Phil Freeman
On January 7, 2013, a memorial for saxophonist David S. Ware was held at St. Peter’s Church in Manhattan. Friends and collaborators from the entirety of his career performed, including multi-instrumentalist Cooper-Moore, saxophonists Rob Brown, Daniel Carter and Darius Jones; pianists Matthew Shipp and Eri Yamamoto; vocalist Fay Victor; guitarist Joe Morris (who also performed on bass); bassist William Parker; and drummers Muhammad Ali, Guillermo Brown, Andrew Cyrille and Warren Smith. Ware’s longtime friend and manager, and owner of AUM Fidelity Records, Steven Joerg, hosted the event and spoke, as did poet Steve Dalachinsky, Parker, Shipp, and Ware’s widow, Satsuko.
After the jump is a gallery of photos from the event.
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December 21, 2012
Brazilian-born, currently Brooklyn-based saxophonist and painter Ivo Perelman is a busy guy. He’s released about a half dozen albums this year alone on Leo Records, many of them with a small group of collaborators that includes some of the best and most highly regarded free players in New York: pianist Matthew Shipp, guitarist Joe Morris, bassist Michael Bisio and drummers Gerald Cleaver and Whit Dickey. Two of those—Family Ties, from January, and Living Jelly, from October, feature Morris and Cleaver, and he brought that band to Nublu in NYC on December 14. You can watch the entire 45-minute performance below. I didn’t like Perelman much when I first heard him back in the late 1990s, but either he’s improved a lot or I’m just hearing things I missed back then; either way, call me a convert. Maybe you will be, too, after watching him and his bandmates go at it for a while.
September 21, 2012
by Phil Freeman
Joe Morris has been a crucial figure on the global free jazz/free music scene since the 1980s. Starting out as a guitarist, he expanded to bass, and has worked with many of the major figures on the avant-jazz scene, including Matthew Shipp, William Parker, Anthony Braxton, David S. Ware, Barre Phillips, Ken Vandermark, Joe and Mat Maneri, Ivo Perelman, and many, many others. He’s also been a teacher at the New England Conservatory for many years. His extensive experiences as a player, and his teaching career, have led him to codify his thoughts on music in the book Perpetual Frontier: The Properties of Free Music, which he’s published under his own Riti imprint. (Buy it from Amazon.)
The book describes ways in which players can create free music through three crucial and connected processes: synthesis, interpretation, and invention. He offers specific strategies which musicians can engage in, or reject, either of which will produce a positive (as in active) result. In the latter half of the book, he offers in-depth analysis of what he considers the four seminal methodologies of free music: Anthony Braxton‘s Tri-Axiom Theory, Ornette Coleman‘s Harmolodics, and Cecil Taylor‘s Unit Structures, and the principles guiding European free improvisation. He also includes the answers to a questionnaire he sent fifteen prominent musicians, many if not all of whom he has personally collaborated with. It’s a fascinating book, and one that definitely fills a void in music scholarship and pedagogy. The language of free jazz and free music is frequently that of half-baked spirituality or hazy post-hippie ideas about freedom and interplay, with little concrete advice for the musician seeking a way into what can appear forbiddingly chaotic from the outside. Morris shows the reader where the doors are, and opens them, letting much-needed light in.
This is a long interview, so it’s below the fold. Click to read…
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