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Showing posts from September, 2011

Broken Partials, Matthew Shipp and Joe Morris, Not Two Records, 2011

In the beginning was an African ritual in which the ring shout and the innate rhythm elicited by the stomping of feet represented a cue for a communal gathering of spirits. Throughout history, the purity of the ring shout has changed to evoke and provoke more than was ever intended. A music evolved most often associated with the blues. The blues became “jazz” and “jazz” has so many offshoots that they sometimes have no name except “sound.”  
Broken Partials is a duet between longtime collaborators, pianist Matthew Shipp and bassist Joe Morris.  The recording’s salient focus is how the sound develops from “Broken Partials, One” to “Broken Partials, Eight.” The redundancy of the title describes both the improvised steps that constitute the whole and the infinitely brief hiatuses between and within those steps.
Concision of motion on their instruments clarifies the process that the musicians go through to tell their story, the outcome of which is unknown until the resilient pizzicato on th…

Awakening, Nicole Mitchell, Delmark, 2011

Touted as the country’s best ‘jazz’ flutist, Nicole Mitchell has really got it going on. In Awakening, she collaborates with her group to give a sprightly, endlessly energetic and sensitive take on her own compositions. She works with Chicago musicians: guitarist Jeff Parker, bassist Harrison Bankhead and drummer Avreeayl Ra.

Mitchell believes in melody, harking back to traditional forms, but she also wants improvisation to infuse her music with freshness. That fact reveals her playfulness and interest in molding mood.

Her fellow players hook right up to her lines. Parker not only strums, but also launches himself into solos that are not foreign appendages to the whole unit’s exploration. He never explodes on his electric guitar; he moves around mellifluously between pizzicatos and chords, a soft, thorough and utter complement to Mitchell’s metallic struts, leaps, flutters, and voice-like 'brrrrrrs' and sirenic 'oooohs.'

Bankhead is a model bassist, holding onto and maxi…