Review of Value by Joe Morris / Brad Barrett / Eric Stilwell, Catalytic Sound, 2017
“If pioneering a creative frontier is the goal of a musician, how does he avoid stopping at one place in that frontier? How does he continue the search? Is it possible to main a perpetual frontier?”
Joe Morris, Perpetual Frontier The Properties for Free Music, Riti Publishing, 2012, pag. 1
I chose to start this review of Joe Morris’s latest effort and his recent trio with these questions made by himself at the beginning of his book “Perpetual Frontier The Properties for Free Music” because I find that these questions are perfect to introduce this new CD. I noticed that Joe Morris seems to be comfortable in trio situations, the previous “Raven” CD also presented a similar situation with a different and original set (Ben Hall / drums, tympani, percussion) and Andria Nicodemou / vibraphone, percussion), while in this “Value” we find him in the company of Brad Barrett (bass) and Eric Stilwell (trombone). Another training, another choice that involves the need to face new challenges and seek new solutions. What answers can we give to Morris’s questions? I think the answers are given by himself with these two Raven and Value cds, two records played by a trio, based on a music focused on radical improvisation, but with a different organic and different solutions.
“How does he avoid stopping at one place in that frontier?” I think the answer is to continue to get in the game, looking for new employees, investigating risky and unprecedented solutions.
I think this is what Joe Morris continues to do for so long and with so much stubborn obstinacy. This record, like every one of his last records, is his last position on the creative frontier, what he calls a “perpetual frontier”, a temporary position that may be already uncomfortable for him and already calls the desire to explore again, to move even further ahead.
There are personalities that never stop, are tireless, they endure routines, are bold. Joe Morris is one of these people. And, in the art world, to be daring, it always pays.