Joe Morris | Matthew Shipp | Marshall Allen | Night Logic | RogueArt Jazz

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Marshall Allen: alto saxophone, flute, EVI (electronic valve instrument) | Matthew Shipp: piano | Joe Morris: double bass

Recorded on July 26th by Jim Staley at Roulette, New York, NY, USA. Mixed by Jim Staley. Mastering: Jean-Pierre Bouquet at L’autre Studio, Vaires-sur-Marne, France. Liner Notes: Steve Dalachinsky. Photographs: Matthew Somoroff. Cover Design: Max Schoendorff. Cover Realisation: David Bourguignon, URDLA. Producer: Michel Dorbon

Tracklist: 1. Ark of the Harmonic Covenant (5:41)2. Bow in the Cloud (8:05) 3. Night Logic (8:04) 4. Heart Aura (4:11) 5. Star Dust Splatter (9:41) 6. Cosmic Hammer (6:27) 7. Particle Physics (7:53) 8. Harmonic Quanta (8:11) 9. New Age For the Milk Sea Nightmare (9:45) 10. Res X (2:07)

All compositions by Marshall Allen, Matthew Shipp & Joe Morris

…we need what this music brings us

– an infusion of LIFE & the ability to see/hear things a bit differently through the same set of ears in the same galaxy but with a slightly warped astronomy – mixed with a bit of astrology & star plotting – yes new stars form every day & older stars (Allen now well over 80) burn brighter than ever before…

…He wears a t-shirt that says Dream Team & all I can think of at that moment is > Yes that’s it. That’s what this trio is a Dream Team. A true Dream Team traveling their own ripple-odious Space Way through breath & pitch using their own brand of perspective to box their way out of the box we call Music…

…Yet there is a logic to night, it being the only path that allows us to view those stars nakedly & these musicians have surely taken us closer toward that path. — Steve Dalachinsky, excerpt from the liner notes

Joe Morris | Matthew Shipp | Marshall Allen | Night Logic | rogueart jazz

Marshall Allen

Saxophonist Marshall Allen

is possibly best known from his Sun Ra collaborations, but he also released several albums under his own name on CIMP. We find him here with two of today’s avant-garde icons, Matthew Shipp on piano and Joe Morris on double bass.

It is an album that leaves me with mixed feelings: some pieces are absolutely stellar, in the same style and among the best compositions that Shipp ever played, reminiscent of Pastoral Composure or Cosmic Suite. Not only the compositions, but the playing is excellent too, ranging from nervous gravitas on “Ark Of The Harmonic Covenant”, the first track, over the pounding hesitations of the title track, the hypnotic repetitiveness of “Cosmic Hammer”, to the moody soft sensitivity of “Harmonic Quanta” and the post-boppish gentleness of “New Age For The Milk Sea Nightmare”.

Joe Morris | Matthew Shipp | Marshall Allen | Night Logic | rogueart jazz

Matthew Shipp | Photo by Lynne Ariale

The album also has two solo pieces: Allen’s “Heart Aura” is deeply emotional and free, and Morris’s bowed “Res X”, which ends the album is a fit closure for this great album.

All this sounds excellent and fantastic : the music is intimate and expansive and lyrical like we’ve come to appreciate from especially Matthew Shipp. What goes totally against the rest of the album is Allen’s use of the EWI (electronic wind instrument), which introduces awful electronics, full of bleeps and squeaks on “Bow In The Cloud” and “Particle Physics”. It is a little less disturbing on the latter because of Morris’s interaction with his bowed bass, but still…I know, they are in outer space so you need some intergalactic and futuristic sounds, only, it does sound like the early seventies electronics.

I hate to say this, but re-programming the tracks makes this a really great album. — Stef

Joe Morris | Matthew Shipp | Marshall Allen | Night Logic | rogueart jazz

Joe Morris | Photo by Daniel Sheehan

 

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One thought on “Joe Morris | Matthew Shipp | Marshall Allen | Night Logic | RogueArt Jazz

  1. Unlikely combinations sometimes deliver the most enjoyable results. Take the unexpected pleasure to be derived from what must have one time seemed unpromising pairings such as chili and chocolate or garlic and bread. So the partnering of Sun Ra Arkestra regular Marshall Allen with pianist Matthew Shipp and long time associate Joe Morris yields an astonishing and joyful return on Night Logic, a live recording detailed with in-your-face sound from NYC’s Roulette, spread generously over ten self-contained abstract improvisations spanning some 70 minutes.

    Allen, who joined Sun Ra in 1957, has only appeared sparingly outside the Arkestral confines, with All Star Game (Eremite, 2000) with Kidd Jordan, his quartet with Tyrone Hill, and the quartet with Mark Whitecage Mark’n’Marshall (CIMP, 1999), being especially notable. Shipp, one of the most distinctive modern keyboard stylists, has in recent years concentrated on acoustic piano in solo and trio settings, the latter often featuring the bass of Joe Morris. Also an accomplished guitarist, Morris’ extensive discography as leader is swelled by sideman appearances, notably with David S. Ware’s Quartet on Shakti (Aum Fidelity, 2009).

    Allen’s expression here is subtly different to his work with the Arkestra, in that it is more expansive, alternating between breathy vulnerability and the expected shrill falsetto exclamations on alto saxophone. Variety prevails, vouchsafed by a second suit of pure-toned airy flute and measured deployment of EVI squeals and buzzes.

    Whether in deference to the veteran saxophonist or not, Shipp eschews familiar patterns and his characteristic thunder and lightning hammered passages in favor of a probing engagement, whether plucking under the bonnet or crystalline runs of liquid droplets which complement and and provide counterpoint to the reedman’s trajectory. The pianist also meshes closely with Morris whose deep moody arco provokes a particular thrill, greater even than his dexterous pizzicato or booming bass notes anchors.

    In spite of the instrumentation, the program is too urgent and rhythmic to come across as chamber jazz. Nonetheless the interaction of the three participants is an unalloyed delight. Although at times they stick with a single mood as on the pulsing “Cosmic Hammer,” often there is a mindbending switch as with “Particle Physics” which starts darkly extreme, before midway through evolving into a boppish hymn with ethereal flute. Highlights are too numerous to call but include the brooding and mysterious “Ark of the Harmonic Covenant,” “Blow in the Cloud” showcasing excellent interplay between Shipp and Allen, and “New Age For The Milk Sea Nightmare” which traces an arc from melancholic tenderness to tempestuous uproar and back again. Ringing the changes guarantees interest, hence “Particle Physics” is a duet for Allen and Morris, while “Heart Aura” is a lyrical acapella abstraction for Allen’s alto and the closing “Res X,” a showcase for Morris’ gut wrenchingly resonant arco, bringing the disc full circle with its echoes of the opener providing a strong subliminal prompt to hit the play button once again.

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