Morgan and the Mountain
Pieces of Cadence
Morgan and the Mountain = Maisha + Estas Tonne
There’s not much I enjoy more than guitar-heavy jazz music, which is exactly what Morgan and the Mountain deliver with this debut release, Pieces of Cadence. From fiery, stringy solos to lush, percussive grooves, this album has a generous helping of spunk, along with some serious musicianship to back it up. Morgan and the Mountain is the solo project of Morgan Thomas, though he is joined by percussionist Matt Johnson of Dearth on a handful of these 11 songs. The album hovers between acoustic and electric, pulling from the serenity of acoustic styles—as well as from the firm grooves of electric styles—to create an intricate musical landscape. I wholeheartedly recommend picking this album up to anyone with a passion for guitar, jazz, or world music.
One of the things I enjoy most about the mountains are the serene sunrises that can be seen from their snowy tops. This is the scene cast by Pieces of Cadence with its bright, acoustic guitar-strumming, earthy, acoustic percussion, and a slew of other instruments and effects—all woven together into complex but cohesive grooves. If that weren’t enough, there’s also a professional level of polishing that has gone into the album. The mixing is superb, highlighting different sections of the orchestration with each new track. The dynamics are well-thought-out, creating natural peaks and valleys to the energy of each song. From the relaxing guitar odyssey of “At the Stream of Consciousness” to the catchy, guitar licks of “Chalkin’ It Up the Mountain,” Pieces of Cadence creates the sense of exploration through the familiar yet ever foreign wilderness of the mountains.
Every song off Pieces of Cadence fits right in, and each shows off a different style, creating distinct but not disjointed shifts in mood. The mysterious rhythmic pulse of “Lydianland,” the lighthearted groove of “Shadow Cat,” and the eclectic, stringy pining of “Raga 2 — The Sun Sets” each conjure their own atmosphere, and each highlight different aspects of Thomas’ guitar mastery. If you’re not convinced yet, I recommend checking out the Morgan and the Mountain Bandcamp page: morganandthemountain.bandcamp.com to get a taste for their stringy style.—Alex Blackburn