Joe Morris, William Parker & Gerald Cleaver: Altitude (4 stars)

Beautiful and otherworldly energy summoned in collective improvisations

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Joe Morris, William Parker & Gerald Cleaver: Altitude

(Aum Fidelity)

Without access to the vocal expansiveness of a horn, jazz guitarists have to find other ways of expressing themselves. On this set, recorded last year at NYC club The Stone, Morris eschews distortion or effects to come across like an avant-garde Grant Green. His toothy archtop tone is a conduit for scrabbling abstractions and striking modal themes. These collective improvisations with bass guru William Parker and drummer Gerald Cleaver summon a beautiful and otherworldly energy. Unusual, thrilling sounds abound: in ‘Thermosphere’ Cleaver channels Can’s locomotive groove, or see the North African co-ordinates of the second set, where Parker vocalises over zintir, the Moroccan bass lute. Inspired.

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