AUM009 - JOE MORRIS Quartet .. A Cloud Of Black Birds
Album Reviews
cover design by Anne Marcotty
CD $10
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1. Threshold 10.54
2. Mesmeric 8.06
3. A Cloud Of Black Birds 8.48
4. Emblem 8.54
5. Renascent (Morris+Maneri Duo) 4.07
6. Radiant Flux 9.52
7. Take Place 6.34

All compositions by Joe Morris, except tracks 2, 5, 7 which are collective improvs, Riti Publishing (ASCAP) 1998 p+c 1998 AUM Fidelity


Joe Morris - guitar
Mat Maneri - violin
Chris Lightcap - bass
Jerome Deupree - drums
Produced by Joe Morris and Steven Joerg
Recorded by Peter Kontrimas at PBS Studios,
Westwood MA on June 26, 1998
Mixed by Peter at PBS
Mastered by Chris Flam at Mindswerve
Cover Design by Anne Marcotty

In the Autumn of '98, AUM Fidelity presented this still brand new body of work from JOE MORRIS - the most distinctive guitarist composing and performing today, in any musical field. Having been busy for the past 15 years revealing the profound advances made on his instrument via equally profound musical journeys, 'A Cloud Of Black Birds' is a stand-alone masterpiece.

This quartet is one of my favorite live bands ever, capable of delivering cosmic beauty with a wide and rousing sense of swing. Each player creates their own orbit; the band itself operating as a new planetary system with the elemental Sun of Music at it's center. Yes, it comes from elsewhere, and these players together are here to channel The Music, not challenge it. So we had to record!

'A Cloud Of Black Birds', the final result, is a meditation which features all of the advancements seen live delivered here in a way that whispers wisdom like from the ages, imparted in passing, as the music continues moving forward: melody and harmony and rhythm gliding ever higher, riches to last lifetimes. -SJ

Full Liner Notes by Joe Morris:
In 1969, when I was 14 years old, after four or five years of being an angry, depressed, generally confused kid and a habitual truant, I was sent to a school for troubled children run by the State of Connecticut. I lived there for about six months and finished out the school year commuting from my home. The first couple of weeks there were scary. I was away from home and didn't know what my future would be. So I spent as much time as I could alone in my room looking out the window and thinking about the fact that I had hit bottom already in my short life.

My room looked out over a meadow to the tree-lined edge and the woods beyond. This was in the month of October. The leaves were changing colors and the wind was blowing hard. Every afternoon I watched large flocks of cross-migrating starlings fly from one side of the field to the other and from tree to tree. Their collective movement was held together by a loud and seemingly chaotic sense of order. Watching those birds quickly changed my focus from myself and my predicament to a kind of amazed contemplation at the natural beauty and mystery of that scene. The image has stayed in my head ever since. I'm sure that experiencing it helped me to grow and understand myself better.

During the winter of 1969, on a home visit, I learned to play my first chords on a friend's guitar. Learning about music and attempting to create music over the years has given me the same sense of contemplation and understanding of my personal growth as I had watching the black birds. All of the musicians who have inspired me remind me of the birds in their ability to create an elemental kind of beauty by showing order where others find chaos. My own expression is an attempt to be like that and hopefully to inspire someone to pause and think about their time in this world. -Joe Morris, August 1998



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