20 tyshawn continuingContinuing
Tyshawn Sorey Trio
Pi Recordings 98 (pirecordings.com)

In 2022 drummer/composer Tyshawn Sorey, largely associated with extended composition and cutting-edge free jazz, added another dimension to his wide-ranging practice, creating a traditional jazz trio with pianist Aaron Diehl and bassist Matt Brewer to explore the broad repertoire of mainstream modern jazz. It began with Mesmerism and continues here. 

The trio emphasizes understated virtuosity, developing themes with an almost orchestral feel, reminiscent of classic piano trios led by Duke Ellington, Ahmad Jamal and Red Garland in ways that expand both form and interaction. The possibilities for depth are enhanced by slower tempos and extended lengths (from 10’25“ to 15’43”). The trio isn’t simply playing these pieces: they inhabit them.     

Wayne Shorter’s Reincarnation Blues is magisterially slow, the tempo emphasizing the precise sonority of each instrument, represented almost equally in the mix, Diehl’s punctuating chords and phrases delivered with trumpet-like brightness. By the conclusion, the listener is swimming in Diehl’s dense arpeggios and clusters while Sorey and Brewer maintain a rock-solid architecture. The program only gets richer with Ahmad Jamal’s Seleritus, at once elegant and spare, initially highlighting Brewer’s bass. Matt Dennis’ Angel Eyes resides in a tradition of exalted ballads, while In What Direction Are You Headed? by the late pianist Harold Mabern, a teacher of Sorey to whom this CD is dedicated, demonstrates the persistent relevance of classic soul jazz, as codified by Horace Silver and Bobby Timmons.    

Like its predecessor, Continuing is music to be savoured.

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