Tyshawn Sorey Trio: Continuing review artist album name review | John Fordham’s jazz album of the month

(Pi Recordings)
Standard-song jazz interpretations by this group, helmed by drummer, composer and improviser Sorey, just don’t sound like anybody else’s

When the pandemic drove the MacArthur award-winning African American drummer and composer/improviser Tyshawn Sorey online, he unveiled an astonishing diversity of new works – including violin and cello concertos, string quartets, live-streamed improvisations with chamber orchestra Alarm Will Sound. He also recorded a genre-hopping run of albums, of which this latest set by his trio with pianist Aaron Diehl and bassist Matt Brewer – covering original jazz themes by Wayne Shorter, Ahmad Jamal and others – is a startling standout.

Sorey doesn’t much care about where the crossovers between improvised and composed music begin and end. A gifted state-educated music student (collaborators have noted his ability for memorising complex notation on sight), he switched from classical trombone to jazz drums at college, soon bent the tradition his own ways and by 2003 was accompanying star leaders such as pianist Vijay Iyer. But avant-jazz restructuralists Anthony Braxton and Butch Morris, and the sound-centred, time-bending patience of contemporary-classical composer Morton Feldman, were as important to him as the regular jazz tradition. That’s why standard-song jazz interpretations by Sorey’s trio don’t sound like anybody else’s.

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