Sunday, March 24, 2013
Left Coast Meets Right at The Firehouse + Quick Hits
Judging by the music the bassist has posted on her website (www.lisamezzacappa.com), the Trio makes one sit up and pay attention. They'll play 2 shows - 8:30 and 10 p.m. (each with its own admission charge) - and you can get more information by going to firehouse12.com or calling 203-785-0468.
Last week, the Matthew Shipp Trio rocked the Firehouse with its exciting brand of creative improvisations. 2/3rds of the Trio - pianist Shipp and bassist Michael Bisio - creates the music of "Floating Ice" (Relative Pitch Records), a CD that appeared late in 2012.
The 7 tracks will not surprise anyone who has listened to the Shipp Trio in that much of the music has a great forward motion and that the strong left hand of the pianist frees up the bassist to play counterpoint. There are some wonderful moments; "The Queen's Ballad" is a slow exploration built off a handsome melody that Shipp creates an impressive solo from. Meanwhile, Bisio moves beneath the melodic surface creating his own impressions (and rhythms) that catch the ear. The light-hearted swing of "Holographic Rag" suggests "Jelly Roll" Morton, Professor Longhair and Conlon Noncarrow in its bluesy feel and rhythmic drive. It's the longest track on the CD (10:29) yet moves with stealth and allows for a fiery bass solo that really moves.
The introspective opening of "Disc" shows a strain of Chicago blues before moving out and away from its melodic center (and doing so without resorting to high volume or displays of technical prowess.) Bisio's arco work sets the slower pace of the final cut, "Decay", a work that builds in intensity and then moves away from its climax on the rapid-paced bowing bass lines. Shipp's droning chords over the bowed bass close the piece on a strident note.
The music created by Michael Bisio and Matthew Shipp on "Floating Ice" demands your attention and deserves it. The 2 musicians know each other well and that friendship gives them the freedom to make music that goes in many directions (and never gets lost.) For more information, go to michaelbisio.com.
"El Camino" reminds me of those long-gone treasures in that the music will not knock you out of your chair but, unlike many of those earlier recordings, the musicianship is top-notch. Neil C. Young is an excellent rhythm guitarist - a majority of the 8 tracks on the CD are built off of the solid rhythm section and the strong guitars that often comprise the melody. There are moments on the opening track, "Nutter Strut", that remind this listener of the rhythm guitar work of Jimi Hendrix, another musicians who often built his songs and solos off his chordal work. The "country meets jazz" feel of "The Wagon (it left without me)" works quite well, with a touch of Wes Montgomery and Lenny Breau, although the rhythm section is a bit "clunky." No such problem on "Slashville", where the drums and bass set the pace while the leader plays a hearty solo. Perhaps the best track is the lovely "Ballaed" (sic), with its stately melody and excellent counterpoint from the bass.
The music that the Neil C. Young Trio creates on "El Camino" probably won't blow you away but the results are certainly easy to listen to. Go to www.neilcyoungtrio.com and give the band your ears.