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Joe Morris: You Be Me

Arguably Joe Morris’ best album, this was cut by a quartet including guitarist Morris, violinist Mat Maneri, bassist Nate McBride and drummer Curt Newton. The selections contain high quality improvisation and are varied. Often the band plays with edgy intensity, but some of its work is non-traditionally lyrical, as on “The Object of Color.”

There’s a lot of simultaneously improvised ensemble work on the CD from which a lead voice sometimes emerges sufficiently to be considered a solo. However, the line between soloist-with-accompaniment and collective improvisation is blurred here. The quartet does some good pointillistic work, illustrating their ability to listen and defer to each other.

Morris frequently plays percussively, using short bursts of notes. However, he also employs interesting long lines as well. Maneri, drawing on modern classical influences, demonstrates considerable imagination and excellent chops. His six-string instrument allows him to play in the cello range.

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