The Good and Evil Sessions are the first in Thirsty Ear's Blue Series Continuum, which emphasizes diverse styles of music with a rotating, leaderless cast of musicians. This one melds Danny Blume and Chris Kelly of Good and Evil fame with turntable maven Miso and some of the heavy-hitters from the avant-garde jazz world, including bassist William Parker, pianist Matthew Shipp, and trumpeter Roy Campbell. The results are unpredictable and deliciously sassy, with groove-based throbs, jazz beats, and turntable scratches setting the stage for down-in-the-bucket solos that purr with joyous abandon. Free improv meets punk and dance rhythms laced with foot-tapping, body-swaying pulses. While the pop inflections are certain to spark a debate within the tiny but intense and vocal free jazz community over the commercialization of art, the generally uncompromising improvisations of the Shipp/Parker contingent stand up reasonably well even if somewhat less-intense and complex than usual. This sort of crossover fusion could widen the appeal of these otherwise relatively obscure though extremely talented performers. Shipp is in superb form, spinning webs of simple (though never simplistic) phrases, veiled by supple nuance. Miso's scratches are a constant, subversive presence, while the Blume-Kelly guitar duo keeps the hips shaking and the trombone twosome of Alex Lodico and Josh Roseman adds a raunchy bottom. Roy Campbell's fading repetitions on "On the Run" are lovingly distorted through the filter of the Good and Evil lens.
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AllMusic Review by Steve Loewy