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Sorey, Tyshawn Trio: Alloy (Pi Recordings)

Drummer Tyshawn Sorey's trio with bassist Christopher Tordine and pianist Cory Smythe in an album dedicated to Butch Morris and to his mother; intelligent and pensively restrained through-composed jazz influenced by modern composition as much as the history of the jazz trio.

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product information:

UPC: 808713005622

Label: Pi Recordings
Catalog ID: PI 56
Squidco Product Code: 19773

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2014
Country: USA
Packaging: Digipack
Recorded at Firehouse 12 Studio in New Haven Connecticut, on June 10th, 2014 by Nick Lloyd.


Tyshawn Sorey-drums


Christopher Tordini-contrabass

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Artist Biographies:

"Tyshawn Sorey (born July 8, 1980 in Newark, New Jersey) is an American musician and composer who plays drum set, percussion, trombone and piano.

Since graduating from William Paterson University, Sorey has been a sought-after musician in many different musical idioms. He is both a performer and composer, and has had works reviewed in The Wire, The New York Times, The Village Voice, Modern Drummer and Down Beat. In August 2009, Sorey was given the opportunity to curate a month of performances at the Stone, a New York performance space owned by John Zorn. He was selected as an Other Minds 17 (2012).

Sorey recently completed a Master of Arts in composition at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. In the fall of 2011, he began pursuing doctoral work in composition at Columbia University.

To date, Sorey has released four albums as a leader: That/Not (2007, Firehouse 12 Records), Koan (2009, 482 Music), Oblique (2011, Pi Recordings) and Alloy (2014, Pi Recordings). He has recorded or performed with musicians including Wadada Leo Smith, Steve Coleman, Anthony Braxton, John Zorn, Steve Lehman, Joey Baron, Muhal Richard Abrams, Pete Robbins, Vijay Iyer, Dave Douglas, Butch Morris and Sylvie Courvoisier, among many others."

-Wikipedia (

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"Pianist Cory Smythe works actively in new, classical, and improvised music. He has performed widely, making appearances as soloist and chamber musician at the Darmstadt International Festival for New Music, the Bang on a Can Marathon in New York City, the Green Mill jazz club in Chicago, and the Mostly Mozart festival at Lincoln Center. In recent seasons, Smythe has played alongside violinist Hilary Hahn in concerts throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. A Washington Post review of the duo's performance at the Kennedy Center praised Smythe for "...the ferocity and finesse of his technique." Their Grammy-winning album, In 27 Pieces: the Hilary Hahn Encores, documents Hahn's diverse collection of newly commissioned encores for violin and piano.

As a core member of the new music group the International Contemporary Ensemble, Smythe has given numerous premieres, collaborated in the development of new pieces, and worked closely with composers John Zorn, Philippe Hurel, Dai Fujikura, George Lewis, and Alvin Lucier among many others. ICE's 2013 release on Mode Records features Smythe as the piano soloist in Iannis Xenakis's 'Palimpsest'. Smythe has also been a featured guest and soloist with many new music ensembles throughout the United States, including Milwaukee's Present Music, the Boston-based Firebird Ensemble, Chicago Symphony Orchestra's MusicNOW, and the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players. He performs regularly in collaboration with many of the leading concert artists of his generation, appearing this last season with the cellist Joshua Roman, violinist Karen Gomyo, the Imani Winds, and members of the Providence and Rubens string quartets.

An innovative improviser, Smythe performs as a soloist and in collaboration with a wide array of jazz and creative artists, among them, most recently, Peter Evans, Vijay Iyer, Steve Lehman, and Anthony Braxton. This season will see the release of recordings featuring Smythe in projects led by Tyshawn Sorey and Nate Wooley. Smythe's own album, Pluripotent - described by celebrated jazz pianist Jason Moran as "hands down one of the best solo recordings I've ever heard" - is available for free download at

Smythe holds degrees in classical piano performance from the music schools at Indiana University and the University of Southern California, where he studied with Luba Edlina-Dubinsky and Dr. Stewart Gordon, respectively. He currently resides in New York City."

-CORY SMYTHE Website (

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"Christopher Tordini is an in-demand bassist on the New York City music scene, where he performs with established jazz icons as well as a diverse range of emerging musicians. He has toured and recorded with Andy Milne's Dapp Theory for over 5 years, and has also played in bands led by other renowned artists such as Greg Osby and Jeremy Pelt. Tordini plays often with drummer Ari Hoenig, with the Becca Stevens Band, and is a key collaborator in projects led by drummer/composer Tyshawn Sorey and trombonist/composer Michael Dessen. A graduate of the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, Tordini forged strong professional relationships with several faculty members there, including Rory Stuart and George Garzone, with whom he continues to collaborate. Recently, Tordini has performed and recorded with prominent bandleaders such as Steve Lehman, Okkyung Lee, Tigran Hamasyan, Jo-Yu Chen, Mike Pinto, Andrew D'Angelo, Jim Black, and Yaron Herman. He has played at New York City's most prestigious jazz venues, including the Blue Note, the Village Vanguard, the Iridium, the Jazz Standard, Smalls, the Jazz Gallery and the Stone, among many others."

-Home - Gift of Music (

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track listing:

1. Returns 7:59

2. Movement 19:52

3. Template 7:19

4. A Love Song 30:53

sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"Alloy is the highly anticipated new release from drummer/composer Tyshawn Sorey, his first as a leader since his Oblique-I topped multiple critics' polls as one of the best releases of 2011. Named one of "Five Drummers Whose Time is Now" by The New York Times, Sorey has spent a career confounding those expectations. In addition to being one of the most in-demand drummers on the scene, playing with the likes of Vijay Iyer, Steve Coleman, Steve Lehman and Myra Melford, he also holds a masters from Wesleyan University and is currently in the doctoral program atColumbia University studying with esteemed composer Fred Lerdahl. As a sideman, Sorey is known for his impossibly virtuosic technique, mixing rapid-fire playing with power and tumultuous eruptions. He is also well-known among musicians for his mind-boggling ability to effortlessly master the most difficult written scores.

One might expect Sorey's compositions to mirror the vigor of his drum playing, but instead, they more often evince a pensive beauty, with the feeling of wading into waters in search of a mystery deep below its surface. On Alloy, Sorey takes on the classic jazz piano trio tradition and extends the continuum to include compositional influences from classical music such as Morton Feldman and Claude Debussy. Sorey also lists the works of piano trios led by artists like Muhal Richard Abrams, Paul Bley, Ahmad Jamal, Bill Evans, Chick Corea, and Andrew Hill, as well as contemporary artists such as Craig Taborn, Fred Hersch, Jason Moran, Vijay Iyer, and David Virelles.

He is joined on Alloy by pianist Cory Smythe and bassist Chris Tordini, who play an egalitarian role in shaping the music. Both have long histories performing Sorey's music, with Smythe appearing onThat / Not (2007), Sorey's acclaimed debut as a leader, and Tordini on Oblique-I. Smythe is the rare musician who comfortably straddles the new, classical and improvised music worlds. He is perhaps best known in the classical world for his duo performances with the acclaimed violinist Hilary Hahn- a Washington Post review of the duo's performance praised him for "...the ferocity and finesse of his technique" and The Seattle Times extolled his playing as "technically brilliant, artful without excess, supportive without overwhelming...." He is a core member of the International Contemporary Ensemble, having given numerous premier performances of works from composers such as John Zorn, Philippe Hurel, George Lewis and Alvin Lucier. As an improviser, Smythe performs with artists such as Peter Evans, Vijay Iyer, Steve Lehman, and Anthony Braxton. Bassist Tordini is best known for his work in Andy Milne's Dapp Theory, Claudia Quintet, and with the singer Becca Stevens, and has also played and recorded with the likes of Greg Osby, Jeremy Pelt, Ari Hoening, Steve Lehman, Jim Black, Andrew D'Angelo, and Michael Dessen.

Much of the music on Alloy is through-composed, but improvisation remains a central element to the work's design. "Returns" is Sorey's explosion of the functions of a standard piano trio, both in its head-solo-head format and the role played by each instrument. It begins with a repeated three or four note piano motifs with sparse commentary from bass and drums that never play strict accompaniment. It eventually builds to an animated boil before returning to its central motif. "Movement" is a formally elaborate work that demonstrates a current direction in Sorey's compositions: music with a romantic sensibility, which he found himself embracing after the passing of his grandfather last year. The work is influenced by the work of Debussy, Ahmad Jamal, Bill Evans, Jason Moran, Richard Wagner, and Johannes Brahms. "Template" was first released on That/Not in a quartet version. Influenced by the work of Christian Wolff, Autechre, Steve Coleman and Bela Bartok, the version heard here is performed at a much faster tempo. The piece is striking for its sudden swerve from a rubato feel to drum-driven groove over an off-kilter piano motif. One can hear evidence of Sorey's exacting obsession with timbres: He alters his drum setup midstream, switching up sticks and snares, and dampening the bass drum to get a different aural feel from his kit. Finally, "A Love Song" is just that: not only is it inspired by other love songs - in this case Feldman's "For Bunita Marcus," Anthony Braxton and Muhal Richard Abrams' "Nickie, Alban Berg's "Wozzeck," and Percy Sledge's rendition of "When a Man Loves a Woman" - but it is also a tone poem depicting a love story between an unstable man and several women. With its dreamy passages, Sorey's ode to love episodically follows the budding and wilting of several relationships before the man finally resolves to spend the rest of his life alone.

According to Fred Lerdahl, who Sorey is studying under at Columbia: "Two things impress me about Tyshawn beyond his immense musical talent: he is an original who follows his own path regardless of peer pressure or received social and artistic categorizations; and he is deeply devoted to craftsmanship in his music as well as in his performing, and as a result he continues to learn and grow. He never fails to astonish me." With Alloy, Sorey continues to stake new musical ground and help bring together formal classical composition and improvisation."-Pi Recordings

Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
NY Downtown & Jazz/Improv
Pi Records
Trio Recordings

Other Releases With These Artists:
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