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

Tyshawn Sorey: Oblique – I

Mike Shanley reviews drummer Tyshawn Sorey's latest, 'Oblique – I'

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.

Any body of work that was inspired by a conversation with Anthony Braxton is bound to have some thoughtful moments driving it. When drummer-composer Tyshawn Sorey is the leader of the session, it only ups the ante in terms of expectations and final outcome. Sorey, a doctoral fellow in composition at Columbia University who has recorded with Steves Coleman and Lehman as well as the collaborative trio Fieldwork, has already released two discs under his own name. Oblique – I differs from them, as the 10 tracks come from a body called 41 Compositions that the drummer wrote after receiving encouragement from Braxton.

Composers ranging from Karlheinz Stockhausen to Henry Threadgill inspired the pieces, which are titled by numbers. Loren Stillman (alto), Todd Neufeld (guitars), John Escreet (electric and acoustic piano) and Chris Tordini (bass) join Sorey for a series of knotty pieces that have some noticeable precedents yet still sound new and crisp. Stillman’s performance on “Twenty” shows how he has evolved as an original on his horn; the alto solo “Eighteen” sounds like that of a more straight-ahead Braxton. Escreet often has the task of holding things together by just playing chords, but during solos he breaks away into free territory with speed and grace.

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