Tyshawn Sorey Trio - Mesmerism Music Album Reviews

Tyshawn Sorey Trio - Mesmerism Music Album Reviews
On a new piano trio album, the jazz visionary delights in reverent arrangements from the Great American Songbook and beyond.

Tyshawn Sorey is a renowned drummer, known for accompanying artists such as Vijay Iyer, Steve Lehman, and John Zorn, but over the past decade, he has made increasing critical waves for his work as a composer and bandleader, creating vivid landscapes for players and listeners to inhabit. With his latest album, Mesmerism, Sorey continues branching out, with a collection of six covers performed by a newly-formed piano trio. Instead of deconstructing the songs, he approaches each composition with reverence. Staying mostly faithful to the spirit of the originals, Mesmerism aligns itself with Bill Evans’ piano trio albums or Duke Ellington’s collaboration with Max Roach and Charles Mingus on Money Jungle.

The sound of the new trio is warm and intimate, putting melody and rhythm at the forefront. Matt Brewer’s bass playing is adventurous, poking and prodding the songs with contrapuntal grooves, while Aaron Diehl brings the melody, both under the guidance of Sorey’s supervision and percussive voice. Mesmerism is more accessible in contrast to Sorey’s previous piano trio albums, Alloy and Verisimilitude, which shared a focus on sophisticated harmony and texture.

The songs that Sorey has selected for Mesmerism range in style and time period. “For a long time, I felt an intense desire to record some of my favorite songs from the Great American Songbook as well as those by composers whose work I feel should also exist in this canon,” he has stated, and the selections range from standards like “Autumn Leaves” to modern compositions like Muhal Richard Abrams’ “Two Over One” and Paul Motian’s “From Time to Time.” Like Sorey, Abrams was a renowned composer who also taught composition, while Paul Motian was the drummer of the Bill Evans Trio. Sorey makes it clear they belong alongside older classics.

Depending on the song, the trio varies their approach. On “REM Blues,” they stick close to the original, leaning into the melodic lead. With “From Time to Time,” they transform the song into a dense fog as bass and piano notes bump into one another, searching for an exit. Only in the final moments do they introduce the central melody of the original composition. Meanwhile, for their take on “Detour Ahead,” the trio relishes the song’s title, allowing Diehl an extended piano solo that unhurriedly explores every possible avenue while Sorey and Brewer egg him on.

Sorey’s love for each of these songs is on full-window display. He explores them inside and out, with a group of collaborators who have never performed together on stage. Given his penchant for exciting, sprawling compositions, the project might seem like a bit of a trifle. But Sorey’s career thus far has offered proof that composition and improvisation, standards and the avant-garde, experimentation and tradition, are not different universes. They all exist in the same solar system, waiting to be rediscovered.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

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Tyshawn Sorey Trio - Mesmerism Music Album Reviews Tyshawn Sorey Trio - Mesmerism Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on July 18, 2022 Rating: 5


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