j o e s o r b a r a [ d o t ] c o m .
p r o j e c t s
m y m i s s h a p e n e a r
anthony argatoff . alto saxophone
andrew furlong . bass
joe sorbara . drums, percussion
My Misshapen Ear is a collective trio featuring Anthony Argatoff on alto saxophone, Andrew Furlong on bass, and Joe Sorbara on drums and percussion. Their music ranges from minimalism to free jazz to chamber music through swinging, blues-inflected, nose-crinkling-neck-rocking grooves as often as prick-up-your-ears noise experiments. The band plays music composed by its three members whose strength as both composers and improvisers is on full display here.
Their name comes from the opening chapter of Haruki Murakami's novel 1Q84. Sorbara chose My Misshapen Ear as the name for a four piece mini-suite he began writing for the trio in preparation for their second rehearsal and that name was soon inherited by the ensemble itself. He was fascinated by a seemingly strange focus on the "malformed" ear of Aomame, a character who is in the process of deciding to "do something out of the ordinary." Hearing Leoš Janáček's Sinfonietta on the radio, she is inspired toward the unexpected by both the music itself—"probably not the ideal music to hear in a taxi caught in traffic,"—to rise to the dare implicit in the cab driver's suggestion that an emergency staircase can be used to escape the expressway they are stuck on, "but you'd have to do something a little. . . extreme."
Just before Aomame gets out of the car—to the applause of the audience listening to Janáček's music, no less—the driver asks her to, "please remember: things are not what they seem... you are about to do something out of the ordinary... And after you do something like that, the everyday look of things might seem to change a little. Things may look different to you than they did before... But don't let appearances fool you. There's always only one reality." To the astonishment of their passengers, she makes her way through parked cars to the emergency staircase and descends to the street below as "the early April breeze [...] sweep[s] her hair back now and then, revealing her misshapen left ear."
As creative musicians, we invest lifetimes in the misshapen-ness of our ears; ears "malformed," perhaps, in a more metaphorical sense than Aomame's, but just as inclined toward the unexpected, the out of the ordinary. They are ears that long for change, ears that celebrate difference, ears that hear the very real beauty in unexpected sounds and seek to inspire that recognition in others.