Review of Singularity by Joe Morris, 2001 AUM Fidelity
Joe Morris, American, has begun to play the guitar in 1969, 14 year-old age. He did the usual autodidactic training: playing in different groups, listening to so many records and concerts. Otherwise from others his contemporaries, more interested to the rock and blues, Morris chooses as his points of reference musicians belonging to the seminal free jazz movimennt: Cecil Taylor, Ornette Coleman and Eric Dolphy.
Singularity is his only record for solo guitar, in this case an acoustic guitar, edited in 2001 for the independent music label AUM Fidelity.
Morris shows an abstract and idiosincratic guitar’s style, that doesn’t change so much passing by the electric to the acoustic one, clean tones, no distorsion, dense and organized musical texture, small regular intervals and the use of harmonic cluster only to underline some particularly emotional moments. Melody is practically absent. The music of Joe Morris requires and compensates the attention he gets from the listener, to which is asked for great attention and imagination for filling the spaces and to extrapolate his, often fragmentary, themes. Morris repays with a visionary approach of the improvisation that sets himself several light years ahead in comparison to his colleagues.
The compositions on this records (all by Morris) offer him an unique perspective to be able to explore his own ideas without being limited by any formulas or particular arrangements. Certainly this is non an easy listening record: no melodic standards, no modal passages, but you will hear a guitar with an approach as much possible closer to the piano style by Cecil Taylor. No swings. Undestatement, seems to be the secret word for his music. The photo on the front cover of the cd, a blue flower contanined in the opened hands of hisr daughter on a black and white background represents a valid graphic metaphor for the contained musical ideas in this cd and is at the same enough innocent time to make to understand the abstract forms of Joe Morris’s guitar.