Drum String Thing

Wilber Morris

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Drum String Thing Review

by Steve Loewy

Acoustic string bass and drum duos are rarities, and perhaps for good reasons. As engineer Marc Rusch comments in his notes, the low-end sounds of the two instruments tend to "morph into one another." Despite superb recording techniques, that problem is not totally mitigated here. Wilber Morris and his partner, Reggie Nicholson, have played together often as members of other groups, and Morris describes this project as the realization of a dream, hearkening to similar efforts many years earlier by Max Roach and Charles Mingus. The bassist is clearly in upbeat spirits, propelling his music forcefully. While Morris is one of the outstanding jazz bassists, he does not immerse himself here in the advanced techniques explored by more adventurous bassists such as Peter Kowald, William Parker, or Dominic Duval. As a result, the album lacks the brilliance so often reflected in solo recitals by these others. Still, Morris is a powerful and fluent player who is fully capable of sustaining interest for the length of an entire full-length recoding -- no easy feat. Reggie Nicholson is a sensitive drummer, who is always in synch with Morris. Together, they perform original tunes that explore various moods. The bass sounds low in the mix, so the volume needs to be turned up very high to hear the bassist. Morris is always worth a listen, although there are better examples on the CIMP label of his work and of that of Nicholson, too.

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