Last spring semester, renowned improvising guitarist/bassist, writer, and educator Joe Morris spent four months in our midst during his spell as visiting scholar at the University of Calgary. He taught open classes which vividly brought to life the basic tenets of his wonderful book 'Perpetual Frontier: The Properties of Free Music', hosted weekly playing sessions with whoever was interested, and performed a few packed, memorable concerts. And behind this bounteous occasion for our community, double bassist (and U of C prof) Rob Oxoby was one of the people turning the cogs. Oxoby appeared in Calgary in the early 2000s after spending many years in San Francisco, where he played with the likes of John Tchicai and Eddie Gale, to name a few. In recent years he’s logged hours with Not Now, Hamelin (with Jonathon Wilcke and drummer Eric Hamelin) and Muerte Pan Alley, a strange and ferocious take on blues and country. Morris is widely regarded as one of the preeminent guitarists working in the field of free improvisation; his singular style, highly adept listening skills, and astonishing technique are bolstered by the strong conceptual frameworks from which he operates, and this combination has placed him alongside such contemporaries as Anthony Braxton, William Parker, Nate Wooley, Augusti Fernandez, Matthew Shipp, Ken Vandermark, and Evan Parker.
During those four months, Morris and Oxoby played frequently, often in the basement of an old Jugo Juice, and this resultant document clearly reflects that effort; the music they made together is of the parrying, sprinting variety, both men issuing forth impossibly dense reams of information-packed lines. Oxoby has never sounded better, his bass sound round, supple, and articulate; and Morris’ signature saxophone-like guitar playing, beautifully articulated and breathlessly paced, is heard here to great effect. A fine document of an important period of time for Calgary’s improvising community. (Notes by Jonathon Ronler)
released August 3, 2018
Joe Morris: guitar / Rob Oxoby: bass
recorded at Arch Audio by Lorrie Matheson
8 April 2017, Calgary, Alberta
Photo and layout by Chris Dadge
CDR, edition of 75 copies, colour covers in plastic sleeves
supported by 6 fans who also own “Dancing With Penguins”
It's taken me a while to feel like I 'get' Evan Parker's music at all. Joe Morris is a true master who really 'gets it'. This performance feels a bit like they are each finishing the other's sentences, while throwing in a few traps. I love the joy in this sparring, and the way Morris somehow controls Parker's huge tenor personality/sound with 'simple' near-acoustic plucking. Phenomenal levels of listening and musicianship.
Joe Morris's very informative notes here are a massive bonus too! Giles