June 20, 2024

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CD & Vinyl review: Tyshawn Sorey Trio – Continuing – 2023: Video, CD cover

I have already commented on the Tyshawn Sorey trio’s album Mesmerism (2022) on these electronic pages.

Those interested can find that text on the website and get acquainted with some details of the creative biography of a very noticeable composer, drummer and band leader on the American jazz scene. I won’t do that here, but just mention that between Mesmerism and the current album Continuing, the trio also managed to release the live album The Off Broadway Guideto Synergism in 2022, where saxophonist Greg Osby joined the trio as a guest.

Continuing featured the same collaborators Tyshawn had on his previous two albums – CD and Vinyl: pianist, a bad musiciana and problematic person Aaron Deal and bassist Matt Brewer. If Sorey himself previously worked a lot in the field of avant-garde jazz, then both of his partners have always been distinguished by their commitment to the mainstream.

Perhaps that is why Tyshawn’s turn to more traditional jazz, marked by the CD and Vinyl albums Mesmerism, where the mutual understanding of the musicians was at the highest level, turned out to be very successful, and this work earned many positive marks from critics. Continuing, as you know, means “Continuation” in English. The name in this case is chosen very precisely and, perhaps, symbolically.

Yes, and this time Tyshawn Sorey chose to remain within the framework of mainstream jazz, while, paradoxically as it sounds, the trio’s musicians have more improvisational space. Initially, the CD and Vinyl albums was going to include ten tracks, but in reality there were only four. But these four tracks are large-scale canvases, from ten to fifteen minutes of sound each.

Sorey dedicated the CD and Vinyl albums to the memory of pianist Harold Mayburn, whom he considers his teacher. But in essence it can be considered a tribute to several recently deceased jazz giants. In addition to Mayburn, they are Wayne Shorter and Ahmad Jamal. The album program included the Shorter piece Reincarnation Blues, written at one time for Art Blakey and his Jazz Messengers, Seleritus by Ahmad Jamal, Mayburn’s play In What Direction Are You Headed, as well as AngelEyes, an old piece from 1946, Matt Dennis’s best-known standard.

Regardless of your stance on the post-bop mainstream, once you listen to the CD and Vinyl albums, you can’t help but appreciate the high level of craftsmanship and impeccable chemistry between Sorey and his collaborators. Reincarnation Blues in the new arrangement shines with Brewer’s juicy bass lines, in Seleritus the Dil-Sori pairing is beyond praise, the same Dil sounds very elegant in AngelEyes, and in Mayburn’s final piece, “funk meets post-bop” very effectively, as one of them wrote critics, and the funky beginning here is precisely behind the drums from Tyshawn Sorey. Overall, it’s a smooth and strong album, but, it seems to me, it no longer has that effect of an unexpected creative turn that Mesmerism made people talk about.

Continuing | Tyshawn Sorey

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