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Shipp, Matthew – “Equilibrium ” – [Thirsty Ear Recordings]

Anybody who has been at KFJC for, oh, more than a week or two, should already
know that Matthew Shipp is widely regarded as the finest pianist in Jazz today.
What is, perhaps, even more impressive to me than his incredible talent as a pianist,
is the fact that he continues to explore new territories, rather than resting on his
laurels. He could easily and, quite rightly, be satisfied with the adulation of his
coll and fans and withy the fact that he, unlike the majority musicians of any style, can
make a living creating music he loves. But Shipp, through both his performances and
his work as curator of Thirsty Ear’s peerless ‘Blue Series?, continues to push his limits
and expand the concept of what Jazz is and can be. This outstanding release is the
logical ‘next step? down Shipp’s personal path of sonic exploration, in that it brings
together all the aspects of his recent recordings into a seamless mix of Jazz, beats,
and electronic music. There are tracks (3) that remind you of the organic, ambient,
post-music soundscapes of the ‘New Orbit? CD. There are tracks (2 and 4) that mix
Jazz with electronics and beats, as heard on the ‘Nu Bop? CD. The remaining
material is reminiscent of his ‘Pastoral Compusure? CD, in that fairly ‘straight ahead?
Jazz tracks combine, in a less heavy handed manner, some of the elements described
above to organically morph into a more modern, new form of Jazz. This is a brilliant
album that, truly, can (and should) be played on almost every show. Don’t be afraid of
the blue dot. Enjoy!!! DL

  • Reviewed by Daryl Licht on January 15, 2003 at 12:43 am
  • Filed as CD,Jazz
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  • Sole – “Selling Live Water ” – [Anticon.]

    Anticon member, Sole, returns with a very ambitious and successful
    second full-length release. Musically, he throws everything but the
    kitchen sink at you, as jazzy horns, vibes, ambient drones, bleeding
    Krautrock electronics, and seductive pop guitars are all integrated
    quite comfortably with traditional hip-hop beats, scratches, and
    classic soul samples. Lyrically, he also covers a lot of ground, with
    compelling rants about things we can all relate to (work, relationships,
    life/death, geo-politics) and deeply personal, soul baring sketches
    (that you also might be able to relate to, depending on your particular
    psychoses), as well. Overall, this is a stunning release that fulfills the
    goals of the Anticon’mission statement? by transcending the
    traditional preconceptions/lmitations regarding what hip-hop is and/or
    could/should be. Music for the advancement of hip-hop, indeed! Play! DL

  • Reviewed by Daryl Licht on January 9, 2003 at 4:18 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,Hip Hop
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  • Drake, Hamid and Assif Tsahar – “Soul Bodies, Vol. 1 ” – [Ayler Records]

    Having been duly impressed with, ‘Piercing The Veil?, Drake’s outstanding
    2001 duo release with William Parker, I was looking forward to this release
    with great anticipation. As the liner notes indicate, Drake is currently one of
    the most respected percussionists in the Free Jazz scene and, like Parker, his
    playing impresses in seemingly every context. Tsahar, while less known, has
    been a major contributor in the NYC Free Jazz scene for the last decade or so,
    through his performances and his efforts as the head of Hopscotch Records
    and co-founder of the awesome Vision Festival. After the useless introduction
    track, there are three lenghty tracks. Two of them (the first and third tracks)
    are awesome freedom chases that are reminiscent of John Coltrane’s duo
    blowouts with Rashid Ali. The first of these, ‘Soul Bodies?, starts out slowly,
    with Tsahar soloing, before it really takes off; whereas the latter, ‘Heart’s Mind?
    is pretty scorching from beginning to end. The second track, ‘Clay Dancers?, is
    an excellent Middle-Eastern flavored piece in which Drake chants in Arabic
    while playing the frame drumand Tsahar adds some very tasteful bass clarinet.
    Excellent! DL

  • Reviewed by Daryl Licht on January 6, 2003 at 4:20 pm
  • Filed as CD,Jazz
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