Joe Morris / Ken Vandermark / Luther Gray – “Rebus” CF 083
Joe Morris plays guitar on this record, and that is good news. He certainly is one of the best players in that music called “free jazz” that traces its roots to the sixties and seventies. And if on recent records you have longed for Ken Vandermark’s tenor saxophone sound, here it is. After a period of focus on bass and soprano clarinets and on baritone sax, he returns to his first instrument. Only two other titles joining Morris and Vandermark exist, “Like Rays” and “Joe Morris with DKV Trio.” That’s a shame because they function seamlessly together. This third opus makes us believe that this partnership demands a future. And if you have ever wondered why the guitarist is so fond of drummer Luther Gray, “Rebus” explains it all: what a fantastic musician! You’ll find plenty to pick from here: hard-driven, furious music, but also some quiet moments; from sax solos packed with overblowing to almost mainstream finger-picking guitar figures. One moment will have you holding your breath and the next will spur you to relax and slowly let your breath go. These three players never choose the highways when there are other roads to travel; you never know in which direction they’re going to turn. When the trio arrive at its destination, you’ll want to make the journey again: back to the first track. Another listening, another impression of this detailed recording’s nuances.