“As with the previous release Wildlife, ” he writes, “there is a distinct ensemble voice, a lithe, supple sound comes through, and looks as if it will continue to grow over time. Morris’ rising stature as a composer-leader and soloist is indisputable.”
The group, which recorded its highly acclaimed eponymous debut for Firehouse 12 Records in 2007, is led by trumpeter/composer Peter Evans, who critics have called “a new jazz star” (Brian Morton, Jazz Review) with “the kind of mad chops and conceptual smarts that surface just a few times in every lifetime” (Peter Margasak, DownBeat).
The current version of the ensemble, his main outlet as a bandleader, features pianist Ricardo Gallo, bassist Tom Blancarte and drummer Kevin Shea.
Excerpts from recent blog reviews of the Joe Morris Quartet’s Today On Earth (AUM Fidelity):
“The music, performed by Morris (guitar), Jim Hobbs (alto saxophone), Timo Shanko (bass) and Luther Gray (drums), holds up quite impressively under repeated listenings. The tracks are fairly long (4 over 10 minutes and only 1 under 7), but several of them move so gracefully (‘Observer’, ‘Ashes’) it’s easy to get lost in the sonic world the quartet creates. It’s been over 3 decades since Joe Morris first came to critical notice and he continues to grow as a composer and musician, creating challenging music for open minds.”
—Richard Kamins, Hartford Courant’s See! Hear!
“Joe Morris is having one of them crazy years. Nothing can seem to stop him, as he is releasing one CD after another. The latest—and best!—one is this studio session with his quartet. One of the best jazz albums of 2009.”
—François Couture, Monsieur Delire
“Four of the seven tracks on Today On Earth clock in at 10 or 11 minutes, and all of that time is well spent. Of his recent releases, this album is one of the best place to start (behind the Flow Trio), since its places his adventurous improvisational chops in a setting that makes them stand out even more.”
—Mike Shanley, shanleyonmusic
“…the main strength of the album is the truly wonderful compositions, which are refined, carefully structured, compelling and beautifully performed…here [Morris’] playing is much closer to the traditional jazz guitar, and I must say, it suits him well. And the band is absolutely stunning, in its pretenseless, unassuming playing, yet delivering a rare level of combined accuracy of tone and interaction, giving space, dialoguing well, giving the right emphasis at the right time, and adding loads of emotional depth: truly great. But as said, the real treat are the compositions, with themes like ‘Animal’ or ‘Observer’ that will keep ringing in your head long after you’ve stopped listening to the music.”
—Stef Gijssels, Free Jazz
The fifth anniversary season of Firehouse 12’s Fall Jazz Series rolls on tonight with two sets from acclaimed drummer/composer Matt Wilson‘s longstanding quartet in celebration of its new CD, That Gonna Leave A Mark (Palmetto).
The group features Andrew D’Angelo (alto saxophone and bass clarinet), Jeff Lederer (clarinets and saxophones) and Chris Lightcap (acoustic and electric bass).
“That’s Gonna Leave a Mark has an up-close vivacity—not to mention a Sly Stone shout-out—that makes you salivate for a chance to hear the Matt Wilson Quartet live,” writes the New Haven Advocate‘s Christopher Arnott.
“Firehouse 12 is a perfect place to connect with the band and its music because of the intimacy of the venue and its excellent acoustics,” adds the Hartford Courant‘s Richard Kamins.
If you haven’t seen it yet, here’s Wilson demonstrating the positive health effects of listening to jazz: