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Tyshawn Sorey: Verisimilitude (Pi)

Michael J. West's review of album by creative drummer in a trio setting

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Tyshawn Sorey album Verisimilitude on Pi
Tyshawn Sorey album Verisimilitude on Pi

Let no one think that Tyshawn Sorey’s use of a piano-bass-drums trio on Verisimilitude, his sixth album (and one of his strongest), brings it closer to the conventions of jazz or anything else. Drummer-composer Sorey remains as determinedly unique as ever, playing a quiet music that develops gradually and draws at least as much from modern classical music as from avant-garde jazz and creative music. It merely employs more familiar instrumentation to do so this time.

Actually, there are some moments that flirt with convention. The opening track, “Cascade in Slow Motion,” finds pianist Cory Smythe playing a spare, inquiring melody (and a solo that closely follows that melody) with regular accents from bassist Christopher Tordini (who switches to bow just before the piece’s end) and loose, brushed drums from Sorey. Likewise, the half-hour “Algid November” captures a few scattered, serendipitous occasions of the three (freeform) swinging together.

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