Joe Morris Quartet

At the Old Office

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This record documents a Knitting Factory gig in late 1999, featuring Joe Morris with Mat Maneri on viola, Chris Lightcap on bass, and Gerald Cleaver on drums (all but Cleaver appeared on 1998's A Cloud of Black Birds). There are only four tracks but over 70 minutes of music -- a menu that calls for committed and adventurous listeners. The fairly sparse opener, a 20-minute collective improvisation called "Matter of Fact," is followed by Morris' "Don't Say Too Much," based on a structured, appealing groove in six. "Coil," another Morris composition, is busier (often frenetic in fact), with some fierce rhythm section interplay and a sizzling Maneri solo. And the aptly titled "Closeout," again collectively composed, stays off-kilter and rhythmically nebulous until Lightcap establishes a light, satisfying tempo that brings the tune home. Morris is in fine improvising form throughout; the live setting is definitely an advantage.

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