JOE MORRIS / NATE WOOLEY – Tooth And Nail (CF 190)
No chance of getting bored when two masters – albeit of different age and background – hold a course in immediate creation of uncontaminated, restorative music such as that contained by Tooth And Nail. A guitar/trumpet duo revealing hundreds of singular yet familiar-sounding facets, Joe Morris and Nate Wooley are stylistically unattached, both desirous of creating innovative terminologies while keeping the flame of the interest for the traditional voices of their instruments flickering. They keep things on a purely acoustic level, producing communicative conversations from which an improviser willing to challenge typecasting and ordinariness can only learn.
At this altitude of instrumental interchange, amour-propre remains entirely out of the equation; any colloquial complication is perceived as a lesson in intelligibility despite the obvious lack of a predetermined harmonic foundation. As the guitarist correctly states in the record’s presentation in regard to improvisational aesthetics and technical development, “the current situation is a fresh start on the original situation”. In a track like the “A Terrific Snag” we’re shown new ways to utilize technique to get delivered by artistic constraint, not to reinforce it. The steady transmission of clean energy generated by Morris’ now sparkling, now semi-buzzing oblique plucking is countered by Wooley’s nosy chronicling, typified by his impressive facility in finding lines to follow and, soon thereafter, disintegrate them into micro-intervallic shards and infinitesimal screeches. On the other hand, “Forest Grove” is played on a cordially jumpy call-and-response, the protagonists using solitary pitches and scraping string noises that leave the audience imagining amusing gestures and odd smirks swapped in between the flurries. In “Gigantica”, Morris picks outside the conventionally acknowledged areas, regular notes and acute pings mixed in a Gibson/xylophone/mbira hybrid.
Of similar episodes, this disc is chock full. These gentlemen managed to take advantage of whatever’s applicable in eight sketches where an intelligent daringness is given away without masks of sorts. The exasperating fight against the natural flowing of life through an instrument, inexorably lost by many ostentatious virtuosos, is conspicuously absent here. This articulate pair reshuffles our convictions at the same moment in which they’re telling us that everything’s OK, and it feels fabulous throughout.