JUSTIN MORELL

Post Bop / Third Stream / Post-Fusion Contemporary / Fusion • United States
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Guitarist and composer Justin Morell received his BA from UCLA, an MA from California State University East Bay, and his Ph.D. from the University of Oregon where he studied under Robert Kyr and David Crumb. While his main interests are composition and jazz performance, he is an experienced guitarist of all styles. Justin comes from a family of musicians: His father, John, is a jazz guitarist who has worked with noted artists from Shelly Manne to Miles Davis, and his grandfather, Carl Fischer, composed such standards as “You’ve Changed” and “We’ll Be Together Again.”

Justin grew up in Los Angeles and got his start as a professional musician there where he worked with a number of notable jazz and studio musicians. During that time, he performed as a freelance guitarist on a variety of jazz projects as well as on television and movie soundtracks. In 2001, Justin moved to Oakland, CA,
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Dectet: Subjects & ComplementsDectet: Subjects & Complements
CD Baby 2013
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JUSTIN MORELL Discography

JUSTIN MORELL albums / top albums

JUSTIN MORELL The Justin Morell Quartet album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Justin Morell Quartet
Fusion 1991
JUSTIN MORELL Septet album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Septet
Post Bop 2000
JUSTIN MORELL The Music Of Steely Dan album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Music Of Steely Dan
Post-Fusion Contemporary 2002
JUSTIN MORELL Triorange album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Triorange
Post Bop 2003
JUSTIN MORELL Justin Morell Dectet : Subjects And Complements album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Justin Morell Dectet : Subjects And Complements
Third Stream 2013
JUSTIN MORELL Justin Morell Concerto for Guitar and Jazz Orchestra (feat. Adam Rogers) album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Justin Morell Concerto for Guitar and Jazz Orchestra (feat. Adam Rogers)
Third Stream 2018

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JUSTIN MORELL Wanted : Dead and Alive At Rocco's album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Wanted : Dead and Alive At Rocco's
Post Bop 2013

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JUSTIN MORELL Reviews

JUSTIN MORELL Justin Morell Concerto for Guitar and Jazz Orchestra (feat. Adam Rogers)

Album · 2018 · Third Stream
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js
I’ve probably listened to hundreds of works that combine jazz and classical music, but I really have not heard anything similar to Justin Morell’s new opus, “Concerto for Guitar and Jazz Orchestra”. There are some familiar elements at work here, but overall Justin’s vision of what a jazzy concerto can sound like is unique to himself. The press package that comes with this CD is somewhat misleading as it references classical concerto composers such as Mozart and Beethoven, and although Morell may have used some of their compositional forms, there is nothing on here that sounds remotely like Beethoven, which is probably good as I can hardly imagine jazz mixing well with Ludwig’s German sensibilities. Instead, what we hear on hear is rooted in the early jazz classical mixers such as George Gershwin and Duke Ellington, plus modern big band arrangers along the lines of Thad Jones and Bob Mintzer, as well as mid-20th century composers such as Paul Hindemith and Darius Milhaud, and finally, the unexpected use of modern minimalism in its more melodic aspects in the style of John Adams and some of Phillip Glass’s less repetitive pieces. Its this subtle use of the minimalist’s style that helps give Morell’s work its unique sound.

“Concerto for Jazz Orchestra” is divided into three movements stated quite simply as fast-slow-fast. The opening movement introduces the aforementioned minimalist approach in a very subtle and disguised manner. Do not expect the pounding repetitions of some of Phillip Glass’s work, instead Morell’s method uses melodic fragments that get passed around by the orchestra while the guitar keeps a steady stream of notes flowing. Toward the end of this movement guitarist Adam Rogers is given a chance to solo over the orchestra's rhythmic punches. Movement two is almost ballad like and features a section in which Rogers trades solos with a saxophonist, but the CD cover does not tell us which saxophonist does the soloing. The third movement picks up the pace in a style similar to the first.

This CD is not easy listening, like much of today’s jazz and concert hall music, the sounds on here are abstract and fragmented and not always easily absorbed with just a few listens. Still, fans of contemporary 3rd stream music will want to check this out. As mentioned earlier, Morell’s vision is singular and you will probably end up agreeing with me that this concerto does not sound like anyone else.

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