Monday, April 11, 2016

Matthew Shipp, Michael Bisio, Live in Seattle

Matthew Shipp and Michael Bisio are some of the very major players these days on the new jazz-avant-rooted-or-whatever-else-you-want-to call-it scene.

You can hear their forays together in excellent incarnations of Matt's trio and of course they each have extensive discographies of great recordings everyone should check out.

Even though it is a truism that the live situation is many times a step above and an ideal setting in which to hear improvised music, you find some relatively few albums that bring the idea home profoundly.

That to me is very much the case on Shipp and Bisio's recent vinyl LP offering Live in Seattle (Arena Jazz AMP 505494).

Seattle, the "Church" to be exact, was just the right setting for the two to make some joyful sounds on April 30, 2015.

Both are in an exuberant playing mood and the audience reinforces and gives them a feedback-loop that enable them to do some of their best playing yet. They run the gamut from abstract yet madly swinging originals with freedom, yet too with a foundation in the heat of tradition. . .

. . . to some standards like "My Funny Valentine" and "Where is the Love" which they remake in their own sound images, and some strictly free blowing, too. In short they cover something of what they are doing typically these days, but they sound especially inspired on this occasion with the open-ended possibilities that just the piano and the contrabass suggest.

They nail it! Michael is burning in pizzicato and bowing modes, more than keeping pace with Matthew's continuing and extraordinary flame of expression. They scale some of the highest heights, do some of their very best playing here.

It reminds you why these two are at the top of the heap today--both individually and in tandem.

In fact I would go so far to say that this is one of a handful of the greatest piano-bass sets recorded in recent times. It is virtually without peer. It has the burning edge of post-hard-bop, the full breadth of freedom, and the ability to bring in compositional elements via standards and Matthew's inspired pieces. They keep the torch wildly and happily surging forth.

Yeah! Grab a copy of this one!

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