Drummer Bobby Kapp, free jazz spirit in New York in the mid-sixties, relocated to Mexico City, to the Artists' colony San Miguel de Allede. But he gets around, and on a return to New York he joined pianist Matthew Shipp
to record a terrific set of duo improvisations called Cactus
Shipp, the better-known half of the team, plays with a vehemence that parallels his public personaa prickly, chip-on-the-shoulder, in-your-face approach, a sort of Randy Weston meets Cecil Taylor to and rub elbows with Bud Powellif Powell had played with serious attitude. Kapp, for his part, rumbles and rolls, he whispers and shuffles. He rat-ta-tats to make you break into a dance step, and sometimes he stomps, and he may be the most simpatico band mate Shipp has ever worked with.
Shipp is prolific. His Wikipedia page list five releases in 2015, and they probably missed a couple. Kapp has available recordings with his Fine Wine Trio, a collaboration with free jazz saxophonist Noah Howard, and his 2015 offering, Cilia Sin Embargo
(Self Produced). Cactus
opens with the eight and half minute "Overture," a frenetic improvisation full of angles, and a momentum that waxes and wanes. Shipp leaves more space than he normally does. He seems to search, discover, then explore new tangents. His normal percussive approach is leaner, crisper, as Kapp lays down a tight weave of textures. "Before" sounds composed. Shipp's left hands plays walking bass to Kapp's bright cymbal splashes. Kapplike Billy Mintz
and the late Paul Motian
is a rare drum kit poet. His melodic intro to "Money" is a divinely masterful ninety seconds, leading into Shipp's discombobulation of notes that gels into a compelling, light-stepping beauty.
Everything meshed on this set. Cactus
proves itself cohesive CD full of unpretentious, adventurous, improvised beauty.