Like impressionist painters, guitarist Mark O'Leary and pianist Matthew Shipp execute a colorific sequence of abstracts, consisting of semi-structured theme-building developments and free-form dialogues. With blitzing firepower, the duo also fuses nuance and temperance into the big picture. They dish out linear, micro-motifs amid subtle shadings, and fragmented exchanges, but O'Leary ups the ante during several movements via his dark-toned, breakneck single note licks.
Shipp's flickering progressions and rhythmically inclined block chords offer a fertile underpinning throughout. They work as a cohesive duo while injecting melodic intervals along the way. The Labyrinth motif comes to fruition throughout, where the duo dissects, interweaves, and refreshes the core song-forms on a continual basis.
O'Leary's use of volume control techniques cast an ethereal aura to Shipp's dainty voicings on "Mosaic." Here, the musicians project a harrowing mindset, framed with a minimalist-like edge. Consequently, they generate some high heat on "The Flock" due to the artists' cat-and-mouse interplay; abrupt detours and ephemeral progressions, occasionally offset by a subliminal nod to the blues. In other settings, the guitarist uses distortion techniques while Shipp complements by enacting a more physical approach to the piano.
The musicians' rapidly-paced impetus is perhaps analogous to an action-packed film, brimming with the proverbial twists, turns and unanticipated surprises. It's a curiously interesting release by two of the premier improvisers in the business.
Track Listing: Four Gardens; Secret Miracle; Mosaic; Aleph; The Flock; House of Asterion; Coptic Night
Personnel: Mark O'Leary: guitar; Matthew Shipp: piano
I met Erroll Garner at The Theatrical Grill in Cleveland a few hours before our family was to see him on stage at Severance Hall. That was 45 years ago and I was only 15! I spotted him nearby in a booth wearing a beautiful tux with a great white napkin draped over him! I was a little nervous as I approached him (he was eating shrimp cocktail) and said, Mr
I met Erroll Garner at The Theatrical Grill in Cleveland a few hours before our family was to see him on stage at Severance Hall. That was 45 years ago and I was only 15! I spotted him nearby in a booth wearing a beautiful tux with a great white napkin draped over him! I was a little nervous as I approached him (he was eating shrimp cocktail) and said, Mr. Garner, I love playing the piano... is there any advice you could give me?'' He hesitated, then looked back at me and said, Keep playin' and don't stop!'' That was great advice because at 60 years old, I'm still playin' and haven't stopped!