Matthew Shipp | Joe Morris | Broken Partials | Not Two Records

Not Two, 2011 | MW 851-2 | CD

Matthew Shipp – piano | Joe Morris – bass

Recorded February 17, 2010 At Roulette Studio, NYC. Engineer: Matthew Mehlan. Mixed & Mastered By Rafał Drewniany, DTS Studio. Produced By Marek Winiarski. Liner Notes By Steve Dalachinsky. Cover Art & Design By Yuko Otomo

Tracklist: 1. Broken Partials – One [08:57] 2. Broken Partials – Two [09:35] 3. Broken Partials – Three [09:47] 4. Broken Partials – Four [07:40] 5. Broken Partials – Five [04:41] 6. Broken Partials – Six [06:07] 7. Broken Partials – Seven [05:33] 8. Broken Partials – Eight [09:31]

broken: splintered >ruptured interrupted >discontinuous> imperfectly spoken > music spoken here / a force set free then captured then set free again then tamed > partial(s): not complete, therefore fragmentary piece / or: are these incomplete thoughts or a new concept created by Shipp on the spot as witnessed in the studio and on this recording? “We’ll call this Broken Partials” he intones after the second piece. & one feels that somewhere in the recesses of his being not yet even completely known him he is beginning a ne’er-to-fore heard “science” or perhaps anti-science or unmapped mystique. everything that happens , happens in the moment. internal/external. moments of life presented in the music.  “bringing the grandiose down to the mud.” the grains of the floor fading into grain-less nerve endings, fractured parcels a/sail where there was no thing / a view / circumference interrupted / or as Morris jibes after some unbelievable virtuosity on Shipp’s part “Shipp’s not all he’s cracked up to be. we should get another piano player” which in earnest translates more precisely to: has Shipp cracked up or is he creating with Morris another crack in the Cosmic Egg?

one thing consistent about Shipp’s playing is that though he follows personal patterns and language particulars, he is always rearranging the quotidian. ever changing within what would appear to be predictable quadrants. slight, often dramatic shifts in the keyboard that bring us into that lively realm known as unpredictability or more precisely > THE UNKNOWN > the thing in relation to itself and the Other, an almost auditory illusion which is in effect reality trans/versed: in other words there is no such thing as illusion or reality for that matter. i.e. matter > the way one shapes blocks of chords / builds on/off > trapped within, yet liberated from (sound) / the whole / hence broken partials / unrecognizable increments that form / break up / make up the whole / seem (w)hole / wavering / folding zeitgeists ? / oppositional colors & geometries that may appear unnatural, misplaced, but in truth fit neatly though somewhat uncomfortably in place / of place /the process of studying / cresting / always searching while completing the course > main course & side dish in one > un-manipulated juxtapositions.

prancing > the process of self-regulating / functioning without outside controls / depending entirely on innards of soul > mind > intuition > the changing moods / the very air itself erupting with instant dramas / forces / bonds / or as Morris states early on “I forgot how immediately things change, how really close we are. it’s a give & take.” Morris’ playing is stronger than ever / he has begun to more than master his most recent love or as he jokingly states: “I’m ruining another good instrument for the rest of the world . it’ll be my second one.” palimpsest / palindrome > constant reworking of sounds backward forward / writing over / decoding / encoding / even with Shipp’s signature one take of everything / instant gratification / even with the rattle in the pipes / heard but not picked up / J.M. –“old school style we try harder & get more stuff.” M.S. –“really old school let’s play a slow blues in C. “ J.M. – “sure, let’s change the tempo. “ M.S. –” a really slow blues except I’m not gonna really play the blues.” J.M. – “I gotcha.” two veterans who get the gist.

the fingers grab & open you up / here it’s a blend of abrasion & persuasion / flooded by intoxia & relative ‘chosis of da whirlin-cloud-fan within a non-aligned tropism > particles of culture > scarred connective tissue defying the changes within a system where intelligence dances > as the two men split their wills taking this damp, dripping desire to create & spinning it dry > phrase as focal point > jamming the valves as some datum rise while others fall.

As with the principals laid down by Josef Albers we are dealing with formulation & articulation: the discrepancy between physical & psychic effect / our reactions to life / the revelation & evocation of vision & the ratio of effect to effect as the 2 artists concur after a fierce encounter: M.S. – “that was out there, that was out there, that was out there, oh oh god … J.M. – “ggrrrrggrrrrr. ohhhhh that was like a bear or something, that was really great….. let’s get a little air.” such was the power unleashed.

a bit later in the evening:

J.M. “we’re thinking too much now?”

M.S. why? you think we’re thinking now?”

J.M. – “this spontaneous stuff has plenty of form.”
(form being one of the amazing things about great improvisation or in this case some of the most courageous and outstanding spontaneous composition ever created.)

as the session draws to a close:

Shipp: “I had no consciousness of what was goin’ on. no consciousness whatsoever.”

Morris: “that’s how I want to play all the time, it’s like walking into a room I’ve never been in before, that’s all I wanna do. that’s how I wanna play all of the time.”

Shipp: “we have it.”

Morris: “let’s do one more for good measure if we have time.”

Shipp: “we have it man.”

Morris: “good, then we’re done.”

nyc winter/spring 2010 STEVE DALACHINSKY

Steve Dalachinsky | Photo by Peter Gannushkin

This dynamic duo

features Matt Shipp on piano and Joe Morris on contrabass. Recorded at the Roulette studio in February of 2010. This is the third disc that this particular duo has been involved with, although the other ones featured Joe Morris on guitar. Since Mr. Morris has been switching off between bass and guitar, he has played bass with Matt in both trio and quartet dates. Joe’s acoustic bass playing continues to grow stronger all the time so he sounds superb and spirited spinning those notes underneath Matt’s layers of cascading waves. In the first piece, Joe is quite a bit busier than Matt, yet the balance is consistently strong. There is a strong dialogue going on, like a familiar conversation between two old friends. Joe switches to bowed bass and kicks off the second part by himself. This piece moves more slowly and the currents are darker and more murky. Joe takes a fine long bass solo during the first half of part three which Matt follows with an equally thoughtful solo piano interlude. Both are solos somber and carefully constructed. Matt often seems to be developing a few different themes, building different layers or currents as the tide rolls in and then out. It sounds as though a story is being told as different connected scenes unfold and evolve into other scenes. There are quite a few moments here that are stunning, lovely or transcendent. I got a promo of this disc in June and have been playing it often ever since. It still blows me away. This is an incredible duo whose time has come. The poetic liner notes by Steve Dalachinsky and stark cover art by Steve’s wife Yuko Otomo also fit this disc perfectly. — Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery

Matthew Shipp

was born December 7, 1960 in Wilmington, Delaware. He started piano at 5 years old with the regular piano lessons most kids have experienced. He fell in love with jazz at 12 years old. After moving to New York in 1984 he quickly became one of the leading lights in the New York jazz scene. He was a sideman in the David S. Ware quartet and also for Roscoe Mitchell’s Note Factory before making the decision to concentrate on his own music.

Mr Shipp has reached the holy grail of jazz in that he possesses a unique style on his instrument that is all of his own- and he’s one of the few in jazz that can say so. Mr. Shipp has recorded a lot of albums with many labels but his 2 most enduring relationships have been with two labels. In the 1990s he recorded a number of chamber jazz cds with Hatology, a group of cds that charted a new course for jazz that, to this day, the jazz world has not realized. In the 2000s Mr Shipp has been curator and director of the label Thirsty Ear’s “Blue Series” and has also recorded for them. In this collection of recordings he has generated a whole body of work that is visionary, far reaching and many faceted. Matthew Shipp is truly one of the leading lights of a new generation of jazz giants.

Joe Morris

is an uncompromisingly original guitarist following in the tradition of other conceptual free jazz guitar innovators like Derek Bailey, Sonny Sharrock, Eugene Chadbourne, and James Ulmer. However, Morris has developed his own unique approach to guitar playing, composition, and improvisation that is unlike his peers. He usually incorporates a clean tone of the bebop lineage for his single-note-driven improvisations. His recordings are widely eclectic, ranging from solo performances, traditional acoustic settings, and fusion dates to various groups with interesting instrumentation.

Morris spent his formative years in New Haven, CT, where he taught himself the guitar and immersed himself in a variety of progressive musical styles. He spent numerous weekends attending free symphonic productions at nearby Yale University, which included performances of artists as diverse as Karlheinz Stockhausen, Charles Ives, and Duke Ellington. Attention to local AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians) members Leo Smith and George Lewis and a world music radio show presented by percussionist Gerry Hemingway also helped Morris develop his wide musical palette. In 1975, Morris moved to Boston, where his unique approach was not initially accepted in the then-prevalent modal jazz scene. Despite this temporary setback, and some time spent playing guitar in Europe, he developed a pivotal collaborative relationship with multi-instrumentalist Lowell Davidson, whose unique sound explorations inspired him to further develop his own original approach to music-making.

In 1981 Morris began his own label, Riti Records (named after an African single-stringed folk instrument), to document his prolific musical output. During the ’90s he arguably became the most widely heralded free jazz guitarist in jazz, while recording with many avant-garde luminaries. Morris became the first guitarist to lead a recording session for the prestigious Black Saint/Soul Note Records with 1994’s Symbolic Gesture, and he has continued to record extensively for many outstanding labels such as ECM, Hat Hut, Leo, Incus, Okka Disk, Homestead, About Time, Knitting Factory Works, Not Two Records, No More Records, AUM Fidelity, and Omnitone. Also, Morris has given lectures and workshops for Harvard University, the New England Conservatory, the Berklee College of Music, and European universities.



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