If two men were ever born to perform together, pianist Matthew Shipp and saxophonist Sabir Mateen are those two. In this extraordinary duo performance, they expand on last year's excellent studio performance, SaMa, with a live performance which takes their improvised communication even closer to the edge. Mateen's tenor is strong and supple, honed to a razor's sharpness, and Shipp uses the entire keyboard, whether it's bombs of bass notes or rippling high register figures. They begin with a few shorter pieces including an excellent blues and solo piano feature before moving into the main event. A thirteen minute deconstruction of the standard "Yesterdays" is followed by the awesome twenty one minute improvisation "Inner Chambers" which shows both men in full flow, deeply plugged into the music, the Universe, and each other. In "Yesterdays" they deconstruct the standard, like an master mechanic might dismantle a fine sports car before re-tooling, giving it a tune up and taking it on the road for a full throttle test drive. "Inner Chambers" finds the duo exploring a complex labyrinth of sound that blurs the divide between free, melodic and pure sound. Like explorers plunging deep into the musical cosmos, they travel to places hitherto unimagined and returned unscathed for a quick encore and a round of rapturous applause from the audience.
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Amir ElSaffar's Two Rivers - Crisis (Pi, 2015) ****½
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