Pondering the complexities of composer Tyshawn Sorey

Posted on: April 18, 2019

“There is something awesomely confounding about the music of Tyshawn Sorey, the thirty-eight-year-old Newark-born composer, percussionist, pianist, and trombonist,” writes Alex Ross in Monday’s (4/15) New Yorker. “Is it jazz? New classical music? Composition? Improvisation? Tonal? Atonal? Minimal? Maximal? Each term captures a part of what Sorey does, but far from all of it…. Last month, Miller Theatre, at Columbia University, featured Sorey [and] members of the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) and the JACK Quartet…. Sorey pointed out that in some circles he is considered ‘not black enough’ and in others ‘not new-musicky enough.’ Yet the in-betweenness of his work is its source of strength…. Sorey is capable of effects of elemental power: for example, tattooing on a drum with one hand while agitating a cymbal with the other, a mallet clutched in his teeth so that … he can bash a gong behind him…. The Miller program [featured] ‘Autoschediasms’—the latest incarnation of a series of controlled improvisations…. [With the] Tyshawn Sorey Trio, he has released two albums … ‘Movement,’ on [the album] ‘Alloy’ … opens with a ravishingly melancholy piano solo in F-sharp minor. It’s a bit like Alban Berg playing piano in a hotel lounge at the end of the world.”

Posted April 18, 2019