Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

18

Bobby Kapp / Matthew Shipp: Cactus

Karl Ackermann By

Sign in to view read count
After a productive period in the 1960s, drummer Bobby Kapp revived his career at the start of the millennium. Among his latter projects was The Fine Wine Trio with pianist Richard Wyands and bassist Gene Perla. The group was commissioned by the US State Department to tour Africa and Jordan as "Jazz Ambassadors." That music, being decidedly mainstream, did not reflect Kapp's free jazz affinity having played with the likes Archie Shepp and much more recently with alto saxophonist Noah Howard on Between Two Eternities (Self-Produced, 2009). Throughout four decades, whether playing lounge jazz or avant-garde, Kapp has flown significantly and inexplicably below the radar.

In polar opposition, we have Matthew Shipp. A force of nature whose readily identifiable style has made him one of the most notable and recognizable pianists. Controversial in his bombastic dislike of critics and a steadfast refusal to acknowledge the influence of any pianistic forbearers, Shipp would seem an unlikely personality match for the restrained Kapp. But music, being the great equalizer, the two teamed up as half of Kapp's quartet on the excellent (and grossly under-recognized) Themes 4 Transmutation (Self-Produced, 2014) and have now moved on to this outstanding duo outing, Cactus.

The nine track set opens with "Overture" and finds Shipp taking the time to exploring antecedents and consequences of each facet of the piece. As he does so, Kapp shifts position frequently, sometimes in accord, often in contrast and eventually utilizing the entire kit to make his own distinctive statement. The bluesy motif of "Before" is more organized at the outset but moves into freer territory towards its conclusion. Kapp provides an extended and thundering introduction to "During" before Shipp heads down a path moving from abstraction to lyricism. A standout piece is "Money"; again featuring a lengthy opening solo from Kapp, this time both complex and nuanced. Shipp's playing here is sprightly and expressive, his angular approach softened but not completely exenterated.

Cactus is impressive from both musical and organization standpoints. The symmetry between Kapp and Shipp suggests nothing less than two players who can manage the balance of structure and freedom while having no tolerance for ambiguity. The music is engaging from beginning to end and, more importantly, there is an element of surprise in each piece that makes the overall album extremely satisfying. Kapp is now seventy-four and it's about time for him to get some higher level of recognition. With the Shipp brand in play, Cactus may be the album to move the needle.

Track Listing: Overture; Before; During; Money; Cactus;After; Good Wood; Snow Storm Coming; Drum-a-Phone; The 3rd Sound.

Personnel: Bobby Kapp: drums; Matthew Shipp: piano

Title: Cactus | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Northern-Spy Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Thesis

Thesis

Matthew Shipp
Duos With Mat Maneri & Joe...

4D

4D

Matthew Shipp
4D

Album Reviews
Live Reviews
Album Reviews
Year in Review
Album Reviews
Live Reviews
Album Reviews
Interviews
Album Reviews
Read more articles
Signature

Signature

ESP Disk
2019

buy
New American Songbooks, Volume 2

New American...

Pleasure Of Text Records
2019

buy
Sonic Fiction

Sonic Fiction

ESP Disk
2018

buy
Symbol Systems

Symbol Systems

Hatology
2018

buy
Zero

Zero

ESP Disk
2018

buy
New American Songbooks, Volume 2

New American...

Pleasure Of Text Records
2018

buy

Upcoming Shows

Date Detail Price
Feb25Mon
Matthew Shipp Trio
Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola
New York, NY
Mar5Tue
Shipp/lowe/cleaver/ray
Roulette
Brooklyn, NY
$18

Shop

Start your shopping here and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read East Of The River Nile Album Reviews
East Of The River Nile
By Chris May
February 23, 2019
Read VOX Album Reviews
VOX
By Friedrich Kunzmann
February 23, 2019
Read live@ZKM Album Reviews
live@ZKM
By Bruce Lindsay
February 23, 2019
Read cinder: ember: ashes Album Reviews
cinder: ember: ashes
By Glenn Astarita
February 23, 2019
Read Amour Album Reviews
Amour
By Doug Collette
February 23, 2019
Read Friendly Signs Album Reviews
Friendly Signs
By Don Phipps
February 22, 2019
Read The Adventures of Mr Pottercakes Album Reviews
The Adventures of Mr Pottercakes
By Roger Farbey
February 22, 2019