285

Darius Jones / Matthew Shipp: Cosmic Lieder

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
Cosmic Lieder documents the first recorded collaboration between rising alto saxophone star Darius Jones and venerable pianist Matthew Shipp. Veering between dark lyricism and roiling catharsis, the date offers an illuminating window into the creative discourse between two different generations of the avant-garde.

Released concurrently with the expansive live double album, The Art of the Improviser (Thirsty Ear), which showcases Shipp's artistry in both solo and trio settings, this intimate studio date presents yet another facet of the pianist's abilities as part of an ongoing celebration of his 50th birthday. With a discography featuring appearances on more than 65 titles released since 1987, and nearly 40 of those made as a leader or co-leader, Shipp's vast experience outweighs Jones' by well over a decade. Despite their age disparity, Jones makes a keen partner for the elder pianist.

Currently serving as a member of numerous high-profile ensembles, including Little Women and Mike Pride's From Bacteria To Boys, Jones' phenomenal debut Man'ish Boy (A Raw & Beautiful Thing) (AUM Fidelity, 2009) was widely and justifiably lauded as the premier of an important new voice on alto. Though still relatively young, Jones already possesses an utterly distinctive identity as an instrumentalist. He wields a biting tone and commanding phrasing on his chosen horn that is instantly identifiable.

In spite of stylistic preconceptions fostered by their avant-garde credentials, the session opens on a tender note with "Bleed," as Jones and Shipp each conjure poignant statements with lyrical restraint. The album's overall vibe slowly amplifies in intensity with each proceeding cut until a third of the way into the record, when "Multiverse" ascends to a fervent assault of pounded note clusters and overblown split tones. "Mandrakk" follows suit thematically, albeit at a far quieter volume; Shipp plucks metallic pizzicati from inside the piano while Jones' complements his efforts with controlled multiphonics and diaphanous altissimo refrains.

The date subsequently vacillates between sonic extremes, gracefully merging the fragile euphony of bittersweet harmonies with strident dissonances and brash intervals, yielding a singularly melodic sensibility that is equal parts introspective and extroverted. Fragments of standard chord changes even materialize on occasion; "Jonesy" adopts the harmonic progression of John Coltrane's "Giant Steps," warped and modulated into a mosaic of phantasmagoric beauty.

Jones' vocalized timbre and rapturous delivery is comparable to a singer's dynamic range, as Shipp unleashes a labyrinthine series of melodic contours that escape the gravitational pull of standard harmony. Relatively brief and to the point, the oblique angles and abstruse detours of each concise tune invoke the art song tradition, making Cosmic Lieder an entirely appropriate title for this auspicious meeting.

Visit Darius Jones and Matthew Shipp on the web.

Track Listing: Bleed; Ultima Thule; Zillo Valla; Mandrakk; Overvold; Weeja Dell; Motherboxxx; Black Lightning; Nix Uotan; Jonesy; 4-D Vision; Geh-Jedollah.

Personnel: Darius Jones: alto sax; Matthew Shipp: piano.

Title: Cosmic Lieder | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: AUM Fidelity


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Shadow Work CD/LP/Track Review Shadow Work
by Phil Barnes
Published: November 22, 2017
Read Veterans of Jazz CD/LP/Track Review Veterans of Jazz
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 22, 2017
Read Ariel CD/LP/Track Review Ariel
by Paul Rauch
Published: November 22, 2017
Read Fukushima CD/LP/Track Review Fukushima
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 22, 2017
Read Dedication CD/LP/Track Review Dedication
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: November 21, 2017
Read Surface of Inscription CD/LP/Track Review Surface of Inscription
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 21, 2017
Read "Radio Luboyna" CD/LP/Track Review Radio Luboyna
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: April 9, 2017
Read "For Free" CD/LP/Track Review For Free
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: February 13, 2017
Read "Live From Jazz at the Bistro" CD/LP/Track Review Live From Jazz at the Bistro
by Geannine Reid
Published: May 15, 2017
Read "The Django Experiment I & II" CD/LP/Track Review The Django Experiment I & II
by Peter Jurew
Published: April 2, 2017
Read "Happy Juice" CD/LP/Track Review Happy Juice
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: July 4, 2017
Read "Right Up On" CD/LP/Track Review Right Up On
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 12, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Please support out sponsor