«Geometry of Trees» is already the third album of the free improvisation Geometry quartet of cellist Tomeka Reid, vocalist Kyoko Kitamura, cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum and guitarist Joe Morris, following «Geometry of Caves and Geometry of Distance» (Relative Pitch, 2018, 2019). These highly experienced, idiosyncratic musicians, improvisers and educators were affiliated with Anthony Braxton (Bynum was the executive director of Braxton’s Tri-Centric Foundation from 2010-2018, and was replaced by Kitamura) and their Geometry quartet is inspired by Braxton’s ideas about communal responsibility and communal creativity. «Geometry of Trees» was recorded at Firehouse 12 Studios in New Haven, Connecticut in July 2021.
Like on previous albums of the Geometry quartet, the dynamics are democratic and intricate, experimental but flowing with natural force and its own logic, and highlighting deep listening. Obviously, all four musicians employ an array of extended techniques and have singular approaches to improvisation. Kitamura’s operatic delivery and her imaginative, wordless songs and talks set the fragile emotional atmosphere. Her voice is matched beautifully with the economic but poetic singing blows of Bynum, often on the muted cornet, and triggers melodic and sometimes tense and atonal responses of Reid and Morris.
This kind of deep listening, conversational interplay suggests subtle meditative pleas like «Continual Inexplicably», an instant, theatrical and dadaist songs «Imaginary Donuts» and «Spotted Lantern Fly Attacks at The Water Gap», the lyrical pathos of «Bending Skies», «Limestone Formations» that evolves into mature compositions, or the complex, playful interplay of «The Earth Laughs, The Brushes Her Teeth». You can not anticipate where these improvisers will find themselves, and I guess that Reid, Kitamura, Bynum and Morris are carried by the free-associative and the engaging flow of ideas, but this is the magic of the art of the moment gifted and daring musicians prove it again and again. There is no end to the inventive spirit of the eight free improvisations. This quartet extended its geometrical-mathematical interests into fascinating architectures of textures, pitch and timbre, all in an existential search for balanced common ground that makes it all bigger than its parts.
Tomeka Reid (c), Kyoko Kitamura (v), Taylor Ho Bynum (cor), Joe Morris (g)