logo  Joe Morris w/ DKV Trio (OD12027)
Musicians Hamid Drake — drums
Kent Kessler — bass
Ken Vandermark — tenor sax
Joe Morris — guitar
Cover and Artwork cover
graphic design: L.E. Molnar
photography: Rebecca Gleason
Songs 1. “Standing Here” (12:15)
2. “Bit Tenet” duo #1 (Kessler/Morris) (4:20)
3. “Hollow Curve” trio #1 (Drake/Kessler/Morris) (5:59)
4. “Narrative”
5. “Infix” duo #2 (Kessler/Morris) (3:27)
6. “Breathe Easily” trio #2 (Drake/Vandermark/Morris) (4:47)
7. “To and From the Core” trio #3 (Kessler/Vandermark/Morris) (3:17)
8. “Telling” suite (18:35)

Recording Info recorded at:
Chicago, IL
April 30, 1998

recorded by: Brendan Burke
mixed by: Brendan Burke, Ken Vandermark, & Kent Kessler
produced by: Ken Vandermark & Joe Morris
executive producer: Bruno Johnson

Liner Notes I love the music on this CD, but I wasn’t sure I could describe it even to myself enough to be able to say something about it. So I listened to the music many times for days. I thought about how free it was and yet how fully formed it sounded, as thought we had played as a quartet for a long time, when in fact we played twice in two days before we recorded. I noticed how easily the music flowed and how well it stayed together. The variety of feeling really got me. There’s something familiar and something different about all of it. I started thinging about how Hamid Drake, Kent Kessler, Ken Vandermark, and I figured out how to do this so freely without losing a sense of shape. How we could use what we know and spontaneously understand each other.

One could say that freedom in improvised music may be the ability to refer to a body of knowledge held in your brain like a language. It may also mean the opportunity to invent whatever you want, for whatever reason you can think of.
Freedom in improvised music may also mean being able to remain true to your own creative purpose and to speak with your own voice while creating music with others, or taking the risk of using this passion, intensity, or humor when you play. Freedom in improvised music depends of what you know, how open you are to learning, and how willing you are to use it all.

At a certain point, when you’ve workded at learning to improvise for awhile you realize that playing music spontaneously is like talking. Your brain will quickly strip things down to basic information such as how to move, how to sound, how to use energy, how to key into the feel. The elaboration of the combined basics and their variables become your vocabulary. Playing in a group becomes a conversation. The free exchanges of ideas and range of the musical conversation, like a verbal conversation, depends on the knowledge and open-mindedness of the players. The most fluent players have spoken with others in the widest variety of contexts. These players tend to have the most respect for the ideas of others. They can also function with impliesd limits as to where the musical conversation will go, what it will concern itself with, what subject will be discussed. It could simply be said that the accumulation of that kind of musical understanding and the ability to be versatile, at this point, is the equivalent of having a repertoire. If you consider that the scene of new music improvisation, or Jazz as I prefer to call it, is a global one and you want to participate globally, your repertoire has to be extensive. If it is, you’ll have the confidence to play freely.

In that respect, and probably many others, DKV Trio has a very extensive repertoire. Their collective knowledge and their originality allows them to work with the rawest materials; the least amount of information necessary to know exactly where to go with the most possibilities. They move forward with a beautiful confidence and openess, inviting collaboration, exploring every sound with curiousity and respect. The slightest musical impulse can become a full-fledged experience. They can turn a hint of sound into melody, a gesture of motion into rich flowing swing. They aren’t afraid to play with a deep sensitivity. More than anything they can find that thing that has been overlooked before, the particle of musical experience not revealed until now. They’ll nurture the particle into a musical whole, a solid form of uniqueness. Playing with them is exciting because you never know what will happen. You have to be prepared for anything. I can’t imagine a more open environment to play in.

Fortunately, we and our colleagues are creating music that hasn’t been given a name yet. So we aren’t stuck having to live up to someone else’s description of what we do. We are free to play what we want to play. The music on this recording began with the most basic materials: sound, silence, motion, interval, duration, and emotion. We started to play without any words, written material, or agreed structure and within a couple of minutes we knew it would work. Our agenda seemed to be that we would musically talk to each other. We told each other what we know. We played to make something different, to create another experience for whomever listens. It remains open to personal interpretation, to be described by people who listen.

Joe Morris
September 1999

It’s only a matter of time before Joe Morris and the DKV Trio break through to a larger audience. Both the DKV (Hamid Drake, drums; Kent Kessler, bass; Ken Vandermark, tenor saxophone) Trio and Morris have all the ability to merit such, and the fact that they are not is why there is no justice in the world. Deep Telling is a mixed bag of various trio settings, duos, and quartet improvisations. The album opens with a lengthy "Standing Here," a dense, yet rather accessible interchange between the Trio plus one. Morris’s angular guitar sits well with Vandermark’s arrestingly jagged saxophone lines. "Bit Tenet" and "Infix" mark two maverick duets of bass and guitar. Kessler and Morris are rejoined by Vandermark for a far more subdued "Narrative," perhaps the most interesting of the eight selections. A usually razor-sharp Vandermark is tested and comes up roses, deliberate in his remarks and relaxed in his pace. "To and From the Core" is a guitar/bass/sax trio that features Vandermark at energy levels comparable to Peter Brötzmann’s invigorating FMP recordings. Perhaps remaining unsung and underground isn’t a bad thing for Morris and the DKV Trio. After all, that leaves more for me.

— Fred Jung, Editor, Jazz Weekly

I know Ken Vandermark has been a Joe Morris fan since he lived in Boston, and placing Morris alongside the DKV Trio was an inspired move. I enjoyed this collaboration a lot more than the Knitting Factory CD that came out a while ago. The OkkaDisk Fred Anderson/DKV recordings were proof positive that the trio can collaborate with an extra instrumentalist without losing its own identity. Certainly Hamid Drake and Kent Kessler are a fluid rhythm section that Vandermark and Morris can really play together with and off of each other. Like on the end of the first track, “Standing Here”, when the rhythm section fall off and the saxophone and guitar move into an elaborate, interweaving skein of guitar and sax. An entire CD featuring such dense interplay might be too much to handle. The beauty of Deep Telling is that the musical pairings are switched off between all four musicians and a variety of duets and trios. Kent Kessler and Joe Morris duet on two tracks here, both of which are jaw dropping in their lyrical qualities and warmth. As complex as both Morris and Vandermark can get on their respective instruments, Deep Telling also has moments of stark simplicity. The lineup varies across the CD; Kessler, Drake, and Morris play in trio format on “Hollow Curve”, Drake, Vandermark, and Morris work together on “Breathe Easily”, and Kessler, Vandermark, and Morris play together on “To and From the Core”. The entire quartet plays together on three tracks. On “Narrative” Kessler begins on the bass as Drake carefully adds some percussive sounds and Vandermark moves in with a slow, soulful saxophone. At this point you appreciate not only the experience DKV Trio has playing together and what it brought to the recording session, but also the breadth of the Trio’s interests. The match with Joe Morris doesn’t lead to complexity for its own sake. As Morris carefully adds his own melodies to “Narrative” you reach a true understanding of the chemistry of this recording. Deep Telling is yet another excellent OkkaDisk release, an example of how the label continues to match fine improvisers from around the world with sympathetic Chicago musicians.

— Bruce Adams, Your Flesh #43 (Spring/Summer 2000)