Mesmerism (feat. Matt Brewer & Aaron Diehl)
Since debuting in the late 2000s, composer/percussionist Tyshawn Sorey has established himself as a key figure not only in jazz, but experimental music and modern composition—rarefied worlds that often seem closer in concept than they are in practice. Recorded with pianist Aaron Diehl and bassist Matt Brewer in uncharacteristically loose circumstances (they rehearsed for an hour or two beforehand), Mesmerism isn’t just Sorey’s most conventionally jazz-oriented album; it’s one of his few albums that seems more interested in honoring tradition than challenging or deconstructing it. Duke Ellington’s “REM Blues,” Bill Evans’ “Detour Ahead,” Horace Silver’s “Enchantment”: These aren’t standards per se, but they embrace a way of playing and thinking that suggests standards still matter, not to mention evoke a period in jazz when the tectonic shifts of bebop settled into a stride—a break in the figurative action. For fans, it’s proof of yet another facet of Sorey’s talent. For skeptics, it’s proof he can do what he hadn’t proved he could do before—play it straight.