In the early '80s, saxophonist Rob Brown and pianist Matthew Shipp played as a duo, eventually forming a quartet with William Parker on bass and Whit Dickey on drums and releasing the CD Points on Silkheart in 1990. Flash-forward to the present, where Joe Morris has taken over the bass chair, and the group has released this altogether excellent, eponymous follow-up.
The eleven songs explore a wide range of moods, including the meditative "Red in Gray," urgently explosive "Lava," free-spirited "Falling In" and vaguely ominous "You Rang." And yet even when the emotions feel familiar, there's something deliciously elusive about this music; it never settles for easy answers or familiar aural territory. The CD has a disciplined energy throughout, which creates a refreshing understated quality. The musicians are firmly committed to exploring the non-linear and do so through generating judicious dissonance, crafting unexpected shapes, and allowing each other the space to breathe and question.
Poet and jazz aficionado Steve Dalachinsky wrote the liner notes for the CD, and his stream-of- consciousness musings perfectly capture the CD's quality. He defines the right hemisphere of the brain as "where much of the soul's dark abstraction lies." Right Hemisphere delves into this unknown territory, and comes out with music that's rich and rewarding.
Right Hemisphere; You Rang; Bubbles; Ice; Hyperspace; Dice; Incremental; Falling In; The Sweet Science; Lava; Red in Gray.
Matthew Shipp: piano; Rob Brown: alto saxophone; Joe Morris: double-bass; Whit Dickey: drums.