Friday, October 29, 2021

Whit Dickey / William Parker / Matthew Shipp - Village Mothership (TAO Forms, 2021)

Drummer Whit Dickey, bassist William Parker and pianist Matthew Shipp have been playing together in different combinations for decades, and on this album they are combining lightning fast reflexes, intricate compositions and complex improvisations to create a very exciting album. "Whirling in the Void" is open with fast and intricate trio playing, creating music that is very propulsive with meaty bass playing and fast and complex piano and drums. Shipp is particularly engaged, whether using large chords as a booster or diving into the bass and drums for intricate free improvisation. The music flows mightily but still retains a high level of complexity, which is fitting, since these compatriots have so much accumulated experience. The group develops a crashing, urgent sensibility toward the end of performance with Shipp pounding out Morse code like chords. The title track "Village "Mothership" spare solo drum opening, before the piano and bass enter later, clamoring for attention. Deep trio interplay centered by the stoic bass playing, which builds into a rich and thoughtful solo spotlight for Parker. They enter territory that is nearly swinging, allowing for more bass, and opening up some space for the music to breathe, spotlighting Parker who really shines on this track, playing beautifully. "Down Void Way" evolves quickly into a dynamic performance in which thunderous sustaining piano and raw bowed bass meet powerful percussion with excellent results. The improvisation is loud and frenetic, and Parker's bowing is thrilling to hear with Dickey's ever changing percussion patterns and Shipp's dark brooding piano playing make for a beguiling track. The group takes their performance to an area of unsettled quiet, anchored by the bow and gradually allowing their volume to fade away. As can be expected from this lineup, the music on this album is top notch, spontaneously developing in an organic manner. Whether working from narrative or abstraction, all three musicians are completely invested, creating a wonderful statement on this excellent album. Village Mothership - TAO Forms Bandcamp

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