A 47-foot fall that resulted in multiple injuries influenced the music-making of pianist Andrew Moorhead. So do mathematics and computer science, on his debut recording Interleaved.
"An Interleaved digital signal is a single woven from multiple threads." This is what Moorhead tells us in his liner notes. The threads of Moorhead's life that come together to create his CD offering are the consequences of that fall, a love of music and his interest in mathematics.
This combination of influences results in a distinctive and modernistic piano trio-plus outing, beginning with "SeriesOSeriesOSeriesO," an audacious synthesizer (the "plus" part of the "piano trio-plus") workout which sounds like lounge music in a 23rd-century spacecraft, or a drugged awakening from an intense medical intervention in a room full of clean angles and bright lights, masked people leaning in with questions such as "Do you know where you are?"
"World Wind" swirls into a more traditional piano trio mode—relentless and repetitive in its futuristic groove; "A Key In A Pool" makes it sound as if Moorhead is crafting a suite, with a Bad Plus (the original iteration) or Esbjorn Svensson Trio atmosphere, molded to Moorhead's pushing-the-envelope mindset.
The eleven-tune set is dominated by nine assured Moorhead compositions, including the three tunes already discussed, plus a pair of Great American Songbook touchstones, "Some Day My Prince Will Come" and "Days Of Wine and Roses." The former sneaks up on a repeated riff which shifts into the familiar melody, with the trio, including bassist Marcos Varela and drummer Ari Hoenig, at their most engagingly interactive (interleaved?), featuring an extended segment of lively improvisation. The latter gets a wandering intro which gels into a spritely take on the tune.
"Hug" closes the disc. It is another synthesizer reverie, the soundtrack to the birth of a star—though the title suggested otherwise.
In addition, Moorhead writes a compelling liner note, discussing Chinese philosophies, technologies' ability to represent auditory and visual experiences, reality and the harmonic series representation of waveform. This may, for some of us (ahem), go over our heads. Moorhead does have a doctorate in mathematics, and most of the collective "we" do not. But the music is exceptional and consistently engaging. A wonderful debut.