Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Daniel Carter / William Parker / Matthew Shipp - Seraphic Light Live At Tufts University (AUM Fidelity, 2018)

This was a wonderful collective improvisation recorded live at Tufts University in Massachusetts during April of 2017. The trio of Daniel Carter on flute, trumpet, tenor, alto and soprano saxophones plus clarinet, William Parker on bass and Matthew Shipp on piano is made up of three of the most experienced and forward thinking musicians on the modern jazz scene. This three part long-form work is not the free jazz blowout that may be expected, but rather a subtle and nuanced performance that resonances, melding lyrical ideas with open ended improvisation. The music is fully collaborative, allowing each member to bring their own distinctive personality to the music and interact with their colleges with respect and dignity. "Part I" opens with beautifully lilting flute and piano chords and notes melding with emotional bowed bass creating quite a memorable sound, somewhat reminiscent of the early Eric Dolphy recordings with Ron Carter. The music is low in volume but shimmers with a quiet tension and creative impulse, with Parker deftly switching between plucking and bowing and Shipp adding dark and increasingly percussive chordal accompaniment. Carter moves to  trumpet, easing the flow of the music into a new channel, with ripe piano pushing the music forward, as taut bass courses underneath. This is a long track that ebbs and flows but remains vital, as Carter deftly switches instruments (much like the grand master Sam Rivers did during his trio concerts) and Shipp and Parker contribute unexpected rhythmic variations. The pianist takes a stellar solo at the midsection of the piece, creating constellations of notes and shapes that lead into Carter's return on tenor saxophone, taking a soft and supple tone along with Parker's elastic bass and Shipp's surging piano, as they use elasticity to stretch the form of the music in tone and temperament. They glide into "Part II" without stopping, showing that fertile ground that has sown between these musicians remains strong as the music opens up and breathes, and the playing is light and nimble. The music becomes gradually steeper, with cascading piano and the musicians merge into their improvisation an an sympathetic manner, coming to this music from that place outside of strict form and function. Parker's bowed bass playing is stunning, creating this very rhythmic orientation, aligned with the piano and light and airy soprano saxophone. Moving placidly into the closing "Part III," it is clear that these musicians have a deep connection and communicate on a near telepathic level. Carter's saxophone glows in the open space of the theater, with piano and bass soon joining in to create a fascinating musical journey, filled with imagination. The music calls forth a more humble and pure vision, one that is shared by all three men, and together they form an unshakable bond that shines forth from this excellent album. Seraphic Light (Live At Tufts University) - amazon.com

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