Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Joe Morris Quartet: Today on Earth

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.

To say that Boston-based electric guitarist/upright bassist Joe Morris is prolific would be an obvious understatement. In 2009 alone he released six albums, including this quartet disc. But what’s truly astonishing is the stylistic spectrum he traverses: one lineup and an hour of music simply do not cover the multitude of ideas this man possesses. Today on Earth, his current quartet’s second album, may be one of Morris’ more accessible offerings, yet still contains the kind of challenging, jagged melodies and intuitive, spatial improvisations we’ve come to expect.

One reason why this quartet locks in so deftly has to do with percussionist Luther Gray’s and bassist Timo Shanko’s longtime associations with Morris. Since 2002, Gray has contributed to many different Morris recordings with his incredibly light touch and colorful drum tuning; depending on the composition, he can swing as heartily as Blakey or drop a lithe African rhythm. Shanko demonstrates equal aplomb, plowing muscularly through the vigorous postbop of “Backbone” and the flamenco-esque flourishes of the Eastern-inflected “Observer.”

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published