Sunday, March 17, 2013
Mr. Shipp Comes to New Haven + CD Picks
Mr. Shipp is touring in support of his latest Thirsty Ear release, "Greatest Hits", which is a compilation of tracks from the past decade. The pieces range from solo observations to Trio cuts and larger ensembles. The music reflects the pianist's continuing creative probing of melody and rhythm. Bisio and Dickey are perfect foils in that they are both excellent musicians, capable of playing anything that the composer puts on the music stand or follow whatever improvisatory path the pianist decides to take.
The Matthew Shipp Trio will play 2 sets - 8:30 and 10 p.m. (a separate admission for each) - and I strongly recommend reservations. It was quite a treat to see and hear Stephen Haynes: Pomegranate last week (the music was and the musicians were mighty impressive) and also quite wonderful to see the first set sold out. For ticket information, go online to firehouse12.com or call 203-785-0468.
"As The Sea" begins to build halfway through "Part 1" and becomes a mesmerizing roller-coaster ride. Samuel Blaser and company have built this music from numerous nights of free improvisation, they know, respect and like each other and this music hits the listener with quite a pleasing punch. For more information, go to www.samuelblaser.com.
All of these pieces, even the short "Interlude" (1:47) in the middle of the program, are fully realized and never cluttered. The mysterious "Princess Tongora", with its lullaby-like opening, features artful drumming from Kendall Kay (he's worked with Rickie Lee Jones, Kenny Burrell, Alan Broadbent and many others). His cymbal and snare work under Jeff Driskill's soprano sax solo is both delicate and musical and he really drives the piece as Healy's piano solo reaches its climax. Wysaske displays his excellent brushwork on the bluesy "Gaslight", the muted trombone solo of Lippman over the clarinet of Tom Luer and bass clarinet of Doug Webb an added treat as is Hagan's smooth and swinging flugelhorn spot. Webb moves to baritone saxophone for the sly and slinky "Koko On The Boulevard"; the song's descending melody line carrying all the way through the first half, whether the rhythm section is moving in 3/4's time or blowing in 4/4. Webb gets to drive his solo over the sparkling brass and shifting rhythms from the bass and drums (there's a hint of Charles Mingus in the arrangement near the end of the baritone solo.)
Though it is tempting to talk about (and praise) every track on "Hudson City Suite" (issued on the pianist's Hudson City label), let me suggest you go find this gem wherever you can (iTunes. Amazon.com, emusic.com). Yes, one can hear the influence of Duke Ellington on the melodies and arrangements of Scott Healy but there is so much more to be heard in the voicings, the counterpoint and the inventive manner in which the composer writes for the sections of his talented ensemble. Positively smashing music - for more information as well as a handsome video devoted to the recording, go to www.hudsoncityrecords.com.