Thursday, April 14, 2011

Darius Jones & Matthew Shipp - Cosmic Lieder [AUM]

Cosmic Lieder

Darius Jones - alto saxophone
Matthew Shipp - piano

AUM Fidelity 2011

The recording of the first musical meeting of Darius Jones and Matthew Shipp presents an opportunity to create a handfull of catchy promotional phrases. Young player who is just coming into his own meets an accomplished and widely acknowledged master of the genre. A student and a teacher. Experiment and experience. One could easily go on with cliches like these concerning the topic of an inter-generational conflict.
The good news is that it's all on the outside, this is all appearance. On the inside there are none.
Those 13 short stories they created together are not a presentation of a lesson in subject. There is no teaching in here, no student-master hierarchy. There is still a lot of learning though, where two musicians are equal partners in the act of communication and creation.
The music is intense and focused (the shortest track is 2:17, the longest 4:06) and it's easy to perceive separate tracks as short dialogues, in which both musicians are trying to get to know each other. Listening and learning is the main goal here and the level of communication on display is phenomenal as they react instantly to each other. And it's not a kind of understanding you achieve through years of playing together but the one that comes from innate empathy and willingness to participate wholy in the meeting.
Together they travel through intense and dark storms (thundereous, echoing piano chords and distored, obsessive saxophone lines in "Multiverse"), peacefull and solemn ("Bleed") or serene ("Geh-Jedollah") sceneries.
It's not even about what or how they play, whether it's in or out, abstract or melodic, dense or spare. The real value is much more than just a sum those elements, as the group is more than a simple sum of its elements. This is music that is very much complete, somehow vertical and horizontal (both dynamically and harmonically rich; see the cover). Through fragile whispers and powerfull cries, this duo gives you music that is touching and beautifull. A wonderfull statement indeed. Highly recommended.

ps. The cd was only officially released on 12.04 so it is as new as it can get. You can listen to some tracks on the label's homepage

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