Newark-born multi-instrumentalist and composer Tyshawn Sorey (b. 1980) is celebrated for his incomparable virtuosity, effortless mastery and memorization of highly complex scores, and an extraordinary ability to blend composition and improvisation in his work. He has performed nationally and internationally with his own ensembles, as well as artists such as John Zorn, Vijay Iyer, Roscoe Mitchell, Muhal Richard Abrams, Wadada Leo Smith, Marilyn Crispell, George Lewis, Claire Chase, Steve Coleman, Steve Lehman, Robyn Schulkowsky, Evan Parker, Anthony Braxton, and Myra Melford, among many others.
The New York Times has praised Sorey for his instrumental facility and aplomb, “he plays not only with gale-force physicality, but also a sense of scale and equipoise”; The Wall Street Journal notes Sorey is, “a composer of radical and seemingly boundless ideas.” The New Yorker recently noted that Sorey is “among the most formidable denizens of the in-between zone…An extraordinary talent who can see across the entire musical landscape.”
A 2017 MacArthur Foundation Fellow, Sorey was recognized for “Assimilating and transforming ideas from a broad spectrum of musical idioms and defying distinctions between genres, composition, and improvisation in a singular expression of contemporary music.”
Recent commissions include a residency at the 2017 Berlin Jazz Festival and Carnegie Hall’s 125 Commissions Project in partnership with Opera Philadelphia supporting “Cycles of My Being,” a new opera for tenor Lawrence Brownlee and small woodwind & string ensemble, with original text by poet Terrance Hayes addressing themes associated with Black Lives Matter.
As a leader, Sorey has released six critically acclaimed recordings that feature his work as a composer, multi-instrumentalist and conceptualist including his latest Verisimilitude (Pi Recordings, 2017), among many others.
Verisimilitude is Sorey’s continued effort to shatter the jazz piano trio tradition by extending the compositional influence to include the likes of Feldman, Debussy and Xenakis. The prior recorded work by this group, Alloy, combined formal classical composition and improvisation, and was described as “shadowy and elegant” by The New York Times. The new work utilizes a wider array of percussion effects, along with judicious use of electronic effects to explore a wider textural soundscape. Sorey daringly weaves together formal classical composition and improvisation, staking new musical ground in the process.
Tyshawn Sorey – drums, percussion
Cory Smythe – piano, toy piano, electronics
Chris Tordini – bass