It takes all of fifty-seven seconds for Welcome Adventure Vol. 1
to move from what starts as of one of those gnarled but exquisite, corpse-like Matthew Shipp
solo mind-opuses into exactly that but with some friends. Friends who want want to swing but in a just-out, avant way. It's where their heads are at the moment and is the advance directive imbued in the spirit of Welcome Adventure Vol. 1
The three performances, "Majestic Travel Agency," "Scintillate," and "Ear-regularities," each one better than the other in its own impulsively, random way is, without hyperbole, the music of giants at play in the gray light of the East Side. With Shipp is the prolifically fertile, seemingly indefatigable saxophonist Daniel Carter, the agile, detailed drummer Gerald Cleaver
and the creatively catalytic bassist William Parker
. Great thinkers all in one room. Dig it.
Dig it because as Parker's obsessively interactive fulcrum draws you into the center of the action and closer to his bandmates customarily no-margin antics, "Majestic Travel Agency " wheels like a dance band with more than a little something-something up its collective sleeve. Shipp might crack this one open and bound between Art Tatum
and Erroll Garner
throughout, but it's Cleaver who sets the ball rolling as Carter, with all his urban classicism, makes the whole thirteen-minute experiment top-shelf cool.
There's no fault to be found in thinking that "Scintillate" isn't some lost Miles Davis
or Anthony Braxton
track. Carter is translucent here, his trumpet drawing in all the shadows and returning only light while Cleaver, Parker and Shipp ruminate in the blues. Speaking of the blues, the far-flung "Ear-regularities" opens all the windows, letting whatever blows in off the river into the twitchy harmonic conversation. Parker and Cleaver provide the nerve grid for Shipp, who rolls with as many punches as he throws and for Carter, in full command of his flute, sax and trumpet, sails within it all. A definite head listen.
Majestic Travel Agency; Scintillate; Ear-regularities.