Here's a thing. In gathering together a group of players who prefer to look forwards, DJ Wally has gone and made a record that actually sounds like it was made in the present day, rather than any time in the last forty odd years, and whilst there's no seismic shift of the magnitude that bebop was, it does at least prove that in these pluralistic, post-modern and downright odd cultural times such a feat can still be acheived.
The music here raises questions about what might be called social utility. Rarely does music which can serve as background, as can a lot of the material here, reveal much depth with closer listening, as does this music. This is no small acheivement in itself, and the fact that the music is made by the likes of bassist William Parker and saxophonist David S. Ware underlines the point – nowhere here is the work of either of them comparable to their incendiary work in other small group settings. But it's hard to judge this music relative to such benchmarks, since it bears the prominent stamp of samples, group mixups, and electronic production.
"Out Of The Blue" comes closest to historic highs in fact, albeit from the most oblique of angles. Peter Gordon's flute work takes the music towards the middle of the road, whilst Parker and Ware take it to an altogether darker place; a backbeat is present, though here as elsewhere it's merely a part of the whole, as opposed to the whole reason for the music existing. "Shipp Solo Interlude" finds the pianist still shaded with Cecil Taylor, juxtaposed with an even more abstract setting in which Parker is front and center, to an accompaniment of samples.
So is this the future of jazz? How silly is that question when some new jazz releases are mired in a highly proscriptive view of the past? When it comes down to it this music works as well as anything Ruby Braff ever committed to disc despite the vast differences in style and content. Enough said.
Track Listing: 1. Hello (Intro) 2. A Day in the Life 3. Nothing Stays The Same 4. Thirsty Thrills 5. Lessons Learned
6. A Night In
Savannah 7. Out Of The Blue 8. Shipp Solo (Interlude) 9. Paint by Number 10. Shaken 11. I Spy 12.
One (Interlude) 13. A-Plus 14. Medley
Personnel: Guillermo E. Brown: drums; Daniel Carter: reeds; Keef Destefano: samples; Peter Gordon: acoustic
flute; Khan Jamal: vibes; William Parker: bass; Matthew Shipp: piano
David S. Ware: sax