Matthew Shipp Quartet | Cosmic Suite | Not Two Records

Featuring Matt Shipp on piano, Daniel Carter on reeds & trumpet, Joe Morris on double bass and Whit Dickey on drums. As the amazing pianist and composer, Matt Shipp, closes in on his 100th disc as a leader or sideman, it is good thing that he didn’t honor his promise to retire from recording like he said a few years back. I believe that this particular quartet has not recorded before this, although all of the members have played together in other combinations. Matt, Joe & Whit have been playing as a trio for the past few years and Daniel can be heard on a variety of previous Matt Shipp dates. Starting with “Cosmic Suite – Part One,” Daniel is playing some lovely, laid-back, muted trumpet while the rest of the quartet swirls calmly around him. This has to be some of the most calm and enchanting music we’ve heard from Matt and his cohorts in recent memory. When Daniel switches to tenor sax, the quartet starts swirling more intensely, the waves building higher and higher. The recording and balance are especially well done, so the quartet sounds mighty fine. On each piece, Matt provides a different yet somehow connected theme, often reflective yet also quite intense. “Cosmic Suite – Part Four” reminds me of a Monk songs, it is somewhat lopsided and it is interesting to hear Daniel Carter playing in such a more inside way. On “Part Five,” Matt plays these shimmering, dark chords that sound as if we are swimming at the bottom of the ocean in slow motion. As we rise closer to the surface, there is a peaceful calm that washes over us until things get a bit bumpy once more. Each part of the “Cosmic Suite” seems to evoke a slightly different spirit or image. It sounds as if Matt has selected just the right musicians for this suite since each one fits so perfectly into the cosmic flow. This might just be Matt Shipp’s finest disc, it certainly feel that way as I sit back in my chair sipping on some coconut coffee in front of my computer on a hot summer’s night. — BLG, Downtown Music Gallery Continue reading

Jim Hobbs | Joe Morris | Luther Gray | The Story of Mankind | Not Two Records

Even when the mood is more reflective as on “The Spreading of the Idea of Popular Sovereignty,” there’s still an ambience of kinetic activity. Thanks for this is in no small part due to the amount of ground Joe Morris covers on bass beneath Hobbs’s braying fractiousness. Luther Gray’s work here has the effect of giving the music momentum for all of its relatively low-key aspect. Rhythmic vitality is to the fore also on “The Story of a Word,” wherein the group echoes the spirit of the trio Ornette Coleman had with David Izenzon and Charles Moffett without uncritically aping its every move. Hobbs treads a fine line between injecting melodic impetus and employing his alto sax as a third voice in rhythmic service and again the results have about them that air of individuality that’s never anything other than welcome. It’s no surprise that “Gunpowder” has its own incendiary quality. That stems largely from the tension the three musicians conjure up. Again Morris gives the music a momentum of which Hobbs certainly and Gray arguably seem to be in denial. As elsewhere, the resulting music hints not so much at a new vocabulary as it does a new form of interrelationship between rhythm and melody. — Nic Jones, AllAboutJazz Continue reading

Joe Morris | Sensor | No Business Records

Joe Morris is a veteran musician, playing and teaching in New England and New York. Primarily known a guitarist, he added bass to his arsenal about a decade ago, and has built a remarkably original and personal conception of the instrument. This solo album was recorded in 2010 and released as a limited edition vinyl record. — Tim Nilund Continue reading