Wave the wand, play the piano, get a violin, riff the bass, filter in some programming, add a new voice through the clarinet and its lower register bass sibling, and presto! Music that bewitches in the guile of its compositions and the spirit of its players.
The group rather vaguely known as the Blue Series Continuum features the music of Matthew Shipp on its debut, Sorceror Sessions. Shipp’s music weaves it’s customary web of enticement as his muse takes him to the fields of classical music and the free avenues of jazz. FLAM's additional programming lends the disc a street smart dusting, an attitude, or a disposition, kept within well-focused parameters.
For Shipp, the opening “Pulsar” comes in the shape of open-ended, spaced-out notes augmented by a fulmination of block chords, on which violinist Daniel Bernard Roumain builds a solid melodic edifice. Shipp is drawn in – and for a while, perhaps all too little a while, they embrace in melodic dialogue. But in the assemblage of the whole, Shipp is the counterpoint that crackles off the linear mode of the violin. The keyboard player turns in dark colours and an oleaginous flow on “Lightforms.” He takes space and uses it to advantage, breathing in the broad arco swipes from bassist William Parker, the whorls of air from the synthesizer, and the slivers arched in by Roumain. A melange it is, and it works real well.
Contrast this to the hip, careening “Urban Shadows": a bass drum kick and kinetic rhythm from Gerald Cleaver, Parker coming in and boosting the heavy beat, FLAM programming sounds of traffic, scattershot violin riffs from Roumain, and clarinetist Evan Ziporyn darting in with freewheeling notes that flip in, tumble and fall into the fermenting groove.
Music and musicians, ideas that throb with imagination and a consistency of depth and dramatic sustenance: all enrich this album.
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