Upon first listen, this disc might seem a bit lackluster and a step back from the forefront of cutting- edge jazz that Thirsty Ear has recently delved into with great success... then further investigation reveals its emotional depth and simon-pure nature.
The Good and Evil Sessions represents a collaboration between the production team of Good and Evil (Danny Blume and Chris Kelly) and the crew of usual TE suspects in Matthew Shipp, Roy Campell, and William Parker, plus trombonists Alex Lodico and Josh Roseman. Blume and Kelly, who found each other and began making music a few years ago, quickly signed to a label and have done production services on a number of projects since that time, including credits ranging from the B-52s, Roni Size, and Tommy Sunshine to rappers Northern State and Felix Da House Cat. They've also worked in conjunction with many musicians on New York's "Downtown" scene. These guys have big ears and they're not afraid to use them.
William Parker and Matthew Shipp have been on quite a roll in the last few years, and as a result, they have become well known throughout the rich tapestry of modern jazzers on the out music scene. They won their jazz credentials in the time-honored way of taking it to the clubs, laying it down on their own terms, and walking away with the lessons they've learned. They also have big ears and are constantly using them to revitalize the current state of modern jazz.
Groove is a significant element in this music's equation, but certainly not the whole picturewhat happens between those grooves contributes another huge part of the vibrancy of this music. Parker's bass playing has never sounded better, and his sense of touch on the instrument grows deeper with the passing of time. The two trombonists are used to great effect to color and add texture, bringing some much-needed elasticity to the groove. Ditto in regards to the general role of the trumpets. Some of these ideas have been explored in the past by Jon Hassell on his '94 record Dressing For Pleasure. The Good and Evil Sessions is an update of that sensibility which works on many musical levels.
Shipp plays the Korg synthesizer with his usual aplomb, and he continues to boil over with new ideas. His return from "retirement" from a few years ago was one of the best things to happen in modern keyboard history! The man is on fire!
Then, after all, there are the aforementioned grooves. Blume and Kelly bring a lot to the table on this project. Check out the stratospheric guitar tucked away in the mix of most cuts and notice the feelings those subtle touches bring out in the music. "Sweetbitter," the last track on the album, is a real standoutthe last section will simply floor you.
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Personnel: Roy Campbell-trumpet; Alex Lodico-trombone; William Parker-bass; Josh Roseman-trombone;
Matthew Shipp-Korg Synth; All other sounds played and made, sliced and diced, fixed and mixed by
GoodandEvil and Miso