Thu Dec 13 2007
Time Out Ratings :<strong>Rating: </strong>5/5
During the past few years, drummer Tyshawn Sorey has caused a stir all over town with the polymetric rumble he’s provided in groups led by Steve Coleman, Muhal Richard Abrams and Vijay Iyer. Meanwhile, he’s kept a band or three of his own at a constant simmer, working up a bag of composerly abstractions. You just knew that when Sorey finally uncorked a disc, it would be a big deal.
And that/not—two platters stuffed to capacity, with a third disc’s worth of bonus material available exclusively online—does not disappoint. All told, the project gives a vivid impression of Sorey’s range, as well as his refusal to be tagged as a drummer who also writes. The most startling example is Permutations, a glacially paced 43-minute piano work that demonstrates a meaningful acquaintance with Cage and Feldman. Sorey lets keyboardist Cory Smythe do the honors here, but elsewhere proves himself a capable pianist.
Sorey’s ensemble music mixes rhythmic ribaldry with a more spacious, cerebral mode akin to that of recent Paul Bley. His nimble band—completed by trombonist Ben Gerstein and bassist Thomas Morgan—shifts on a dime from icy stasis to bawdy strutting and back in “Seven Pieces for Trombone Quartet,” flinty miniatures sculpted with Webern’s chisel. In “Cell Block,” Sorey atomizes Monk’s “Rhythm-a-ning,” rebuilding it at a quantum-mechanics level. Augment this with the Web-only “Quiescence” and “Mediation,” then sit back and be amazed.
Tyshawn Sorey plays the Stone with Matana Roberts Sun 16 and with Fieldwork Tue 18–Thu 20.