Joe Morris / William Parker / Gerald Cleaver – Altitude

Joe Morris / William Parker / Gerald Cleaver – Altitude

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[AUM073] - CD in 4-panel digipak


Joe Morris: guitar
William Parker: bass (1-2); sintir (3-4)
Gerald Cleaver: drums

Joe Morris, William Parker and Gerald Cleaver are among the most gifted instrumentalists & improvisers in the world today. Altitude documents their first communion together as a trio & they gripped the occasion by creating timeless music rife with invention.

"These gentlemen are playing at the highest level. They establish a rhythmic pattern together, search for a melody together, resolve all open-ended ideas together and move onto the next idea together, all while maintaining an overall vibe that stays with them from start to finish. Moreover, each is playing with the level of confidence only the best can display while playing the long form, never running out of things to express. Improvised music is far from being a spent force within jazz, and it never will be as long as the virtuosos are playing it." –S. Victor Aaron, Something Else!

"With a terrific sense of space and a deft articulation that’s highlighted by his unvarnished, reverb-less clean tone, Morris’ phrasing and the intensities of his attack rarely fail to get my blood circulating along with him. These players exude such organic flow and effervescent energy without indulging in excess — taking care at each moment to craft statements of complex polyphony that pour out with such rapidity — that it’s hard to take it all in. Altitude is state of the art improvising." –Jason Bivins, Dusted

"This borders on mind reading at times as wave upon wave of musical ideas flow forth from the trio. The music has great heart and intellect and the balance between the two gives the music much of its passionate motion. Cooperation is the key to this very successful recording, with three distinctive voices joining as one to create powerful and thrilling sounds." –Tim Niland, Music and More

Altitude was one of two live recordings to be released in July 2012 as part of AUM Fidelity’s 15th anniversary celebrations ( the other being David S. Ware / Planetary Unkown at Jazzfestival Saalfelden ). It documents the first-ever trio performance by these preeminent improvisers which took place during the label's two-week run curating The Stone in 2011.

“It was hot in The Stone on this night,” recalls Morris in the liner notes. “William, Gerald and I soaked through our clothes playing this music, but we didn’t let the heat stop us or even slow us down. We played the long form – soloing, complementing and juxtaposing parts in the most open context that exists in music. There was a great sense of cooperative engagement at play and we let that inform the content. The ideas poured out. Each of us responded to the others with a sincere attempt to honor every sound and every rhythm, and we enjoyed ourselves.” And furthermore, "the long form lets you tell a story, it lets you follow the nodal path in your thought process, it lets you play in layers, it lets you dive into the wave of energy and stay there. And it offers a sense of ritual that describes the present.”

Joe Morris & William Parker were among the very first artists to record for AUM Fidelity. They’ve each created numerous vital albums for the label as leaders, and as collaborators together as well on David S. Ware’s Shakti and Parker’s live orchestral recording, Double Sunrise Over Neptune (which also features Gerald Cleaver!) Parker and Cleaver commune together in & have created three impeccable albums to date with the collective trio Farmers By Nature. One can also check them in rather different though compelling context on Uncle Joe's Spirit House by Parker's Organ Quartet.

[Tracks 1 & 2 = entirety of the first set. Tracks 3 & 4 are excerpts from the second set, and feature Parker on sintir, a bass lute of the Gnawa]



1. Exosphere - 26:21
2. Thermosphere - 25:22
3. Troposphere - 12:04
4. Mesosphere - 08:39

All compositions by Joe Morris, William Parker, Gerald Cleaver
published by RITI pub (ASCAP)

Produced by Steven Joerg & Joe Morris
Recorded by Jimmy Katz live at The Stone, NYC on June 17, 2011
Mixed with and mastered by Petr Cancura
Cover photo by Joe Morris / design by Anne Marcotty
Liner notes by Joe Morris

Thank you again to John Zorn for the opportunity; it was a thrill!