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March 2008

Tyshawn Sorey
That/Not
Firehouse 12 Records

Drummer/pianist Tyshawn Sorey’s enigmatic debut as a leader puts the focus squarely on his compositional ideas. Indeed, Sorey does not appear at all on the startlingly minimalist “Permutations for Solo Piano,” instead giving the 43-minute opus to bandmate Cory Smythe. For the remainder of the two-disc set, Sorey and his quartet walk between avant-garde jazz and modern classical music, balancing vast nebulous spaces with quiet intimacy, their murmuring dialogues punctuated by striking exclamations. It’s a provocative, cerebral session that rewards serious, dedicated listening.

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Daniel Fine

Tyshawn Sorey

Originally published in March 2008
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