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Jeff MORRIS – Interfaces: Jazz Meets Electronics Ravello Records (2018) ****:

(Jeff Morris, live sampling; Karl Berger, vibraphone & piano; Joe Hertenstein; drum set & tabletop percussion)

“INTERFACES explores the different ways a computer can fit in a modern jazz ensemble and still be true to itself. Technology performer Jeff Morris is joined by free jazz icon Karl Berger on vibes and piano as well as innovative New York percussionist Joe Hertenstein. Morris takes sounds from his partners live in the moment and transforms them into his own musical voice with the DNA of acoustic sounds and the fingerprints of digital processing.

This live sampling improvisation results in expressively shifting quasi-loops and glitchy melodic gestures, drawn from music that just happened and influencing what the performers will do next. Call it a twenty-first century version of imitative counterpoint, as in J. S. Bach’s classic fugues.

Taking inspiration from, among others, free jazz legend Ornette Coleman and Brian Eno’s early rebellious sound, Morris builds different digital instruments and interactive environments to produce unique encounters with the jazz world. He uses every stutter, glitch, and clash as a chance to discover new kinds of beauty. The native voice of the technology sings freely instead of pretending to be other instruments or remixing classic recordings.

At times, INTERFACES can feel like an aural puzzle that challenges the mind as much as the ear. But if you’re up for a sonic adventure, you will find musical moments that are nothing short of revolutionary.”

This recording demands a poetic response from versifier and avant-garde jazz aficionado Casey Bush.

Blame it on these new glasses as I can see clearly in the twilight while my inner cognizance is being sucked down into the deep reflections of a salt water flotation tank.    This is what we call an umbilical misstep, coming out of the womb without a proper preamble.  Now is the time to un-pop the cork and force effervescence back inside the bottle, demand everything from nothing.   Put on your best face dog man, we’re going public with a burning comeuppance, a phantom widget out in the desert just beyond the rodeo riding a bronco cyclone driven by both particles and waves, duality challenged by the uncertainty principle.   It is the holy gift of ambiguity wrapped in asymmetry and delivered by an immortal knight on a golden platter.  Lucid splendor dances a two-step along the hypotenuse of an isosceles triangle.

—C. Bush

Music and more info at Ravello Records Website:

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Portrait Jeff Morris

Jeff Morris