The Blue Series Continuum — The Sorcerer Sessions: Featuring the Music of Matthew Shipp
(Thirsty Ear THI 57141.2, 2003, CD)
by Jeff Melton, Published 2004-04-01Collisions between jazz and semi-classical music structure is the format for this new collective set of twelve pieces. Each new project is based on lessons learned and best-known methods applied to an experimental set with a new players and external influences. The opening piece, “Pulsar,” indicates a dramatic shift way from other ensemble works and towards free jazz and ambient efforts. Pianist Shipp has reinvigorated his approach to sensitive piano, which has earned him much respect in the downtown jazz revival in NYC. Next up is “Keystroke,” that captures a free form trio between Shipp, clarinetist Evan Ziporyn, and FLAM’s computer keyboard clicks that establishes an unusual rhythmic context. Ziporyn is also a Bang on a Can member and here he makes a first appearance adding a noticeable counterpoint and a unique voice to the mix. FLAM is clearly the X factor on the album since he occupies a Brian Eno stylized role (as with Roxy Music and U2) where his programming of street dialogues and atmospheric synthesizer swells are a part of the overall arrangement. The rhythm section of William Parker and Gerald Cleaver demonstrate a the grooving riff on “Urban Shadows” while violinist newcomer Daniel Bernard Roumain wails above in the rafters. This album can be viewed as the other bookend of the same story composed with David S. Ware’s latest release on the label. Overall Shipp’s work in this configuration allows for further outgrowth into international recognition.
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart $amp; Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more