Joe Morris (guitar & acoustic bass) and Luther Gray (drums) have been playing together for many years in bands led by Joe as well as with Rob Brown, Dennis Gonzalez, Jim Hobbs & Steve Lantner. This is the first time these two have recorded a duo session and it is about time. Although Joe Morris has become a fine acoustic bassist (his second instrument), here he concentrates on his original instrument, the guitar. Each of the five pieces here are named "Creature (something)". The first is called "Creature Emotion" and it has a more restrained vibe with Joe playing semi-acoustic and Luther using brushes & soft sizzling cymbals. These two fine musicians have a special way of weaving their notes together into an impressive sonic web. Joe Morris, who also plays banjo & mandolin on occasion continues to come up with new ways of coaxing sounds out of his guitar. I caught Joe a couple of weeks ago (7/17/10) in a session with John Butcher where Joe played an entire solo by just rubbing his strings in an odd way. Here also Joe appears to bend & mute his strings in ways that are hard to describe yet certainly unique. On each piece the duo explores a different terrain or vibe. They swing in a bent sort of way on "Creature Adventure", trading lines, shadowing each other with streams of notes cascading upon one another. What I dig about "Creature Proportion" is the way the duo take a theme and then build upon it, adding chords and flurries of notes as the piece ascends higher and higher, taking us with them on their journey. The energy is breathtaking! On "Creature Influence" things glide down for a more restful episode where each note counts and is slowly placed upon a sea of calm. Finally, "Creature Outlook" is a long piece which works its way through a few different sections. Joe plays a twisted melody when the song begins and then the duo take off, turning the melody inside-out and then weaving layers of lines in waves that keep sailing and soaring and crashing together in connected streams. The duo often seem like they are balancing upon a precipice and are about to fall into the big void yet somehow arrive together in the same exciting place. A place we all need to rest upon before the next set takes place. Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery
Not Two (PL)
Joe Morris / Luther Gray
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