Friday, May 06, 2011

Darius Jones and Matthew Shipp - Cosmic Lieder (AUM Fidelity, 2011)

Alto Saxophonist Darius Jones has made quite a splash for himself in the avant-jazz scene, with his debut album Mannish Boy and his playing in the extraordinary collective Little Women. Joining forces with the great pianist Matthew Shipp was a masterstroke, as the two musicians complement and combat each other on a series of thirteen short improvisations. Jones and Shipp start off slowly like two boxers feeling each other out in the early rounds of a bout, before delving deep into the unfettered depths of pure improvisation. The two men probe deep, low and patient on early numbers. The music remains abstract and exploratory until the supernova of “Multivese” blows things wide open. Extraordinary intensity warps time/space, before peeling back the short and pointed improvisation for a thoughtful coda. Taking a haunted haunted and melodic vibe on “Weeja Dell”, the keening keeps the suspense building to the payoff of a strong yearning improvisation. "Black Lightning", on the other hand is a torrid performance with gales of saxophone pouring forth like a force of nature. This was a masterful performance from the two musicians - one an established master himself, and another on his way to becoming one. Jones and Shipp's Cosmic Lieder is the aural equivalent to a dark and stormy night. Short, stark ideas collide like in a particle accelerator, and the brief nature of the performances just adds to their pointedness. Cosmic Lieder -

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