Friday, September 01, 2017

Matthew Shipp Quartet - Not Bound (For Tune, 2017)

The trio of Matthew Shipp on piano, Michael Bisio on bass and Whit Dickey on drums have recorded very successfully together in many configurations and they do here as well. The wild card on this particular album is the inclusion of the iconoclastic Daniel Carter who comes equipped with an arsenal of instruments including flute, trumpet, tenor and soprano saxophone and clarinet. This makes for a wide ranging and exciting set of music that was recorded during June of 2016 in New York City. "Soul Secrets" opens the album in a subtle and thought provoking manner with Carter playing light and nimble flute that moves through the music very cleanly while the piano, bass and drums keep the music pointed forward. Switching to trumpet, Carter takes "Is" even further out, playing golden brass tones and clearing the way for some dynamic piano playing, contrasting light and dark tones. Thick bass and waves of percussion join them in a thoroughly present collectively improvised section that encapsulates all of the possibilities of modern jazz. "Totality" is the focal point of the recording, ideally so in this year of the eclipse, with Carter transitioning to tenor saxophone and Dickey's rattling and rumbling drum solo setting the pace for the recording. The group circles and probes the music's surface, with Shipp's deeply percussive piano playing providing just the right counterweight to Carter's saxophone filigrees and the agile bass and percussion playing. The music dives deeply only to surface with occasional calm patches of nearly romantic quietude. Carter glides over the rippling trio playing, skating over their sounds and adding sly commentary as he goes. He then moves to soprano saxophone, with a lithe and sweet sound that contracts nicely with some of the darker piano chords that Shipp favors. "This Coda" has a quiet and slightly sombre opening for just piano and clarinet, and the bass and drums holding out until the halfway point. Caret then moves back to tenor saxophone as the tempo of the piece increases and fills out. This was a very successful album, with all of the music continuously engaging and flush with inventiveness, fitting for four of the most imaginative musicians on the modern jazz scene. Not Bound -

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