Spotlight: Joe Morris

Great guitarists abound. There is even a thrilling number of guitarists with their own instrumental voice. Fewer are musicians of any kind who invent their own musical language. Playing things never played before is not that difficult; playing them in a way that possesses such a strong internal logic it draws listeners to a sound they have never experienced, is a marvel. Thelonious Monk, Wayne Shorter, and Stevie Wonder are among the few who introduced us to new ways of hearing through their explorations. Joe Morris also fits in this category. The first time I saw him play, I was struck by how his unique note and rhythm choices made immediate sense to me.

Between his many groups and a separate career as an upright bassist, Morris is one of the hardest working men in show business. His recent release Raoul, with keyboardist Jamie Saft and drummer Mike Pride, for Eraldo Bernocchi’s RareNoiseRecords, is a rampaging, electric, free improv set that in other hands might have easily devolved to pure noise, but thanks to the musicality of Morris & Co. remains engaging and involving throughout. Get a glimpse of the guitarist’s motives and objectives here.

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