Reeding Between the Lines
Valarie Morris is a semi-experimental composer of jazz-inflected chamber music. What helps set her apart from other such composers is her interest in the textural uniqueness of layered accordions. More than half of the instrumental pieces included here feature at least a single accordion player or a whole quartet of accordion players. The rest of her instrumental compositions are dominated by the Sax Maniacs saxophone quintet and recall some of the more straightforward work done by the Rova saxophone quartet. The four vocal numbers featured on Reeding Between the Lines display a musical and lyrical playfulness, but at the same time, sound a bit too academic.
Morris was a student of the extremely avant-garde jazz composer Anthony Braxton, but her approach to composition is much more accessible than her former teacher’s. Highlights include the intricate, sax quintet piece “Five Movements,” the dynamic, accordion-dominated “After the Storm,” and the excellent sax quintet arrangement of Charles Mingus’ “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat.”
Skyblue Productions, P.O. Box 21584, El Sobrante, CA 94820-1584