Matthew Shipp


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A meeting of old and new free jazz vets who share a similar -- though not identical -- creative world view. Mitchell was there first; his manner of juxtaposing silence and hyperactivity (which he established while Shipp's generation was still in diapers, artistically speaking) has become standard operating practice among free improvisers. Shipp came along a quarter century later, adopting similar strategies and pressing forward with new, if related, ones. The two men get along well here. Mitchell exerts his prerogative as the duo's elder member to direct the improvisations: as always, the saxophonist does what he does, and it's up to his partner to make his own way, which Shipp does quite well. Mitchell's trademark scalar cascades and intervallic pointillism are largely echoed by the pianist, who nevertheless has the good sense and taste to create motion when the saxophonist embarks on his characteristic episodes of long, static melody. Differences in the two are obvious; for example, while Shipp whips tonality out of shape when the occasion demands, he's unafraid of playing lyrical modal passages as well. Mitchell is much less inclined to observe a tonal center. Shipp's a more jaggedly rhythmic player, while Mitchell's rhythms seem to either flow unabated or stand quietly still. Irregardless, the differences prove complementary. The men speak the same language -- albeit with slightly different accents -- and they communicate quite well. A nice record.

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