Moving Away from the Center of Jazz: Thomas Wirtel, a.k.a. Thomas Shabda Noor, Ann Starr, NewMusicBox, The Web Magazine from the American Music Center
Morgan Powell on the Creative Process: The Reality of Maborosi, Ann Starr, NewMusicBox, The Web Magazine from the American Music Center
Interview with Morgan Powell – Snake Babies: A Conversation, by Ann Starr, Perfect Sound Forever online music magazine
“…Through the processes of composing, performing, and hearing this music the bar is raised to a new level of what constitutes ‘creative’ music.”
— Jim McNeely, jazz pianist/composer
“…Powell’s music sits at the intersection of the experimental jazz tradition and the classical avant-garde…”
— Mark Stryker, music critic, Detroit Free Press
“Morgan Powell and I grew up in the same musically unpromising small west Texas town. I was struck by his inventiveness, his passion for music, and his discipline….. He had such qualities nearly fifty years ago, and he has them still.”
— Larry McMurtry, novelist
“Morgan’s music has soul, spirit, song, effect, guts. I listen to these tunes and I get about every emotional feeling you can get.”
— Don Owens, Professor of Music, Northwestern University
“What Powell’s done all those years, he’s done quietly, yet he’s one of the best in avant garde writing. He’s the king. He’s the fountainhead.”
— John Von Ohlen
*American jazz drummer
*Professor, Cincinnati Conservatory of Music
University of Cincinnati
I think it’s the third eye that [Powell’s] music engages, deep inside the head. Despite its frequent magnitude and volume, it is essentially introspective music, and will trick only the inattentive or fearful into thinking it extrovert…Not only does he create great sound, he scrupulously orders sound elements to make intense reactions available when they are unexpected or even resisted. Thus he composes in a large sense—composing, proposing, and suggesting to the listener possibilities for idea and emotion.
— Ann Starr
Some Reviews of the 2015 CD, ON AND OFF THE SCORE
There is an element in Powell’s music, maybe it’s the jazz esthetic, that infuses a graceful linear clarity. As each piece is experienced, it seems to curve more often than it corners. The end result for this listener is that I sense the design and logic in each piece, but also the organic, the warmth and beauty of the human heart of the composer.
Part of the success of this collection is due to the chemistry between Powell and the musical coterie on each track. So intimate is the relationship that the performers sound like different incarnations of Powell himself. As such, the listener will not hear many seams between what is prescribed and what is improvised in this collection. When those seams are evident (as on TRR Improv, 2014), the music does not surrender to the mayhem and massiveness that can often occur in group improvisation settings. Instead, the performers contribute collegially and embrace with a like-minded purpose.
There are a great variety of listening experiences in this collection as the instrumentation shifts with each track. Throughout runs the common thread of Powell’s intended message, the delivery of which is patient, well-timed, and as generous to the ears and heart as it is to the intellect.
– Jay Miglia, jazz musician
Miscreant Angels is a truly “fantastic” work for solo piano in that it resembles a “Fantasie” in its exceptional variety of moods, texture and character. It presents a technical challenge on a par with that of the Liszt etudes, the sensitivity of a chopin nocturne and the clarity of the classical composers and yet it is entirely unique in style. It is both powerful and intimate, virtuosic and poignant.
Waterclown is a masterpiece! It is a perfect interweaving of ensemble, solo and improvisational elements that transports the listener into another time, into another world.
Martirano’s performance is masterful and inspired! A significant work for the solo violinist who can integrate jazz elements, improvisation and the virtuosity of the Esaye solo sonatas.
FP Improv: Hilariously Brilliant!
– Dr. Ariane Alexander, pianist