It is the sheer audacity that hits you right between the eyes. In a quick-fix world where art must snare you in a trice, then hold you hooked with shocks and swift delights (to stop thoughts wandering to phones), Tyshawn Sorey dared to dream; dared to aspire to higher art. He dared to imagine a partly composed, carefully shaped improvisation lasting nearly four hours, where not a second would be squandered. He invited seven of New York’s finest players to join his own drums, percussion and trombone, and paint music on a canvas as vast as the night sky: music that dares to glory in silence, and thereby frosts the air around the notes with echoes of those just past or anticipation of those to come.
Seldom does the band ignite as one, but rather smaller groupings come and go, enjoying exchanges that cut to the chase of what it is to be alive. This music is that profound. It dwarfs most of what is churned out, and his collaborators (including guitarist Todd Neufeld and bassist Mark Helias) are perfectly attuned to Sorey’s grand – or sometimes miniature – intent. The recording quality will shake your speakers as much as the music may shake your life.