9

Jeff Cosgrove: Alternating Current

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
The recipe for this album could be detailed as such: start with one inventive drummer, add two interconnected masters of wholly improvised music, throw a composition from Paul Motian into the pot, and let it all stir itself.

Drummer Jeff Cosgrove's fascination with the music of Motian isn't a secret. As the man behind Motian Sickness, a band dedicated to shining a spotlight on Motian-as-composer, he drew attention to the late drummer's written work on The Music Of Paul Motian: For The Love Of Sarah (Self Produced, 2011). The two gentleman joining him on Alternating Current—bold-and-assured pianist Matthew Shipp and penetrative bassist William Parker—had never played the music of Motian before this session. Together, they set out to explore his "Victoria," but that was the only planned aspect of this musical meeting. The other two tracks—the lengthy-and-jarring "Bridges Of Tomorrow" and the hauntingly curious "Alternating Current (For Andrew Cyrille)"—were on-the-spot creations.

"Bridges Of Tomorrow," clocking in around thirty-nine minutes, presents the most challenging music on the album. A short tom motif from Cosgrove sets things in motion, but the music goes anywhere and everywhere after that. Shipp proves to be the aggressor on this one, pounding away with stabbing chords, threading cryptic phrases through thick tangles of sound, and continually working the vexing angle. Cosgrove picks up on Shipp's tactics, often mirroring his dicey declamations. Parker is the one who stands apart in this setting. At times, he seems reluctant to engage in musical fisticuffs, preferring to work in the background or the cracks in the pavement. Later on, he settles in, engaging in thorny dialogue and standing firmly on his own.

"Alternating Current (For Andrew Cyrille)" and "Victoria" occupy a different space. Both pieces are delivered in a more measured and contemplative manner. Shipp's playing is flat out brilliant on both, Cosgrove's cymbal-and-tom coloration adds volumes to the music, and Parker adds depth to "Victoria," with his bass serving as ballast. Extreme order never prevails on either one, but both benefit from attention to architectural design.

While this is Cosgrove's date, and it's often about the dialogue between two or three men, Shipp draws the lion's share of the focus. He remains one of the most anomalous and intriguing pianists on the scene. Few musicians are nearly free of influences and allegiances, but he's one of the few. Hearing him shift effortlessly from the role of hushed beauty-maker to that of pointillist painter and pugilistic pianist is something else.

Track Listing: Bridges Of Tomorrow; Alternating Current (For Andrew Cyrille); Victoria.

Personnel: Jeff Cosgrove: drums; Matthew Shipp: piano; William Parker: bass.

Title: Alternating Current | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Self Produced


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read For the Love of You CD/LP/Track Review For the Love of You
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 21, 2017
Read Recent Developments CD/LP/Track Review Recent Developments
by John Sharpe
Published: October 21, 2017
Read Triple Double CD/LP/Track Review Triple Double
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 21, 2017
Read Agrima CD/LP/Track Review Agrima
by Jerome Wilson
Published: October 21, 2017
Read The Study of Touch CD/LP/Track Review The Study of Touch
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 20, 2017
Read Another North CD/LP/Track Review Another North
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 19, 2017
Read "Woody Guthrie - The Tribute Concerts" CD/LP/Track Review Woody Guthrie - The Tribute Concerts
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 20, 2017
Read "Another Place, Another Time" CD/LP/Track Review Another Place, Another Time
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: June 18, 2017
Read "Official Bootleg: Live in Chicago, June 28th, 2017" CD/LP/Track Review Official Bootleg: Live in Chicago, June 28th, 2017
by John Kelman
Published: October 12, 2017
Read "Sedimental You" CD/LP/Track Review Sedimental You
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 4, 2016
Read "No Answer" CD/LP/Track Review No Answer
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 18, 2017
Read "Time on My Hands" CD/LP/Track Review Time on My Hands
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 10, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.