Matthew Shipp Quartet | Cosmic Suite | Not Two Records

Not Two, 2008 | MW 798-2 | CD

Matthew Shipp – piano | Daniel Carter – reeds |Joe Morris – bass | Whit Dickey – drums

All songs composed by Matthew Shipp, published by Matt Shipp Music ASCAP. Recorded January 31, 2008 at Leon Lee Dorsey Studio, NYC. Recorded by Leon Lee Dorsey. Liner notes by Steve Dalachinsky. Cover art / design by Yuko Otomo.

Tracklist: 1. COSMIC SUITE PART 1 [10:30] 2. COSMIC SUITE PART 2 [03:20] 3. COSMIC SUITE PART 3 [07:55] 4. COSMIC SUITE PART 4 [07:10] 5. COSMIC SUITE PART 5 [06:37] 6. COSMIC SUITE PART 6 [06:41] 7. COSMIC SUITE PART 7 [04:34] 8. COSMIC SUITE PART 8 [08:28] 9. COSMIC SUITE PART 9 [06:25]

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

Cosmic Suite (in 9 parts) an analytical cutup

1. sudden but warm drops. wondrous strangeness. sly, nuanced performances. direct & fitting ways to program events. each player constantly subverting while taking up their role & speaking directly, turning the session into a warm interstellar “ghost” story with zeal & great energy. depicting the present with half-shouts & soft passages of tenses, with never a tense moment. filled with many light moments, as in both playful & luminous. restrained breaks within an often sublime subtleness. lush music filled with an overall orchestral quality, being as “un-sequential as it can be in a very sequential way”.

2. wind gusting outside. one would never know it by the warmth emanating from this recording studio ( Penthouse 27). new worlds being born. new cosmologies. critical feats of imagination within a lyrical tradition > translated by the language of technology into a recorded testament. this is a strategy of the poetics of sound filtered thru 4 celestial bodies creating “music” which is then filtered thru the apparatus of the studio to later sustain us in our “homes.” 4 very personal voices woven together to transform the air & charge it with echoing lines of electricity & true-isms. the power of 4 unique imaginations creating a new & often beautiful language. “how one…” instrument…”affects the other in infinitely complex ways.”

3. panoply of meanings enhanced. spectrum of spectral cymbals. vigorous contemporary approaches. extreme positive effects of instant collaboration. a post post-bop feeling with an almost west coast old school relaxation. each member of the group combining their prior knowledge of each other & of the dialogues they are seeking thru their own personal histories/journeys. learning how to re-relax while stumbling upon & exploring new structures thru intuitive powers to create a hybrid language while staying within “recognizable” almost generic frameworks.

4. completely complementary forces within the relationship of time & space while still taking chances. finding new espression while plodding deep into the realms of cause & effect.

5. (trio) calmness of the tree in the corner of the room as the shadows on the terrace are fiercely being blown by the wind. as the tree on the terrace are being mercilessly bent by the forces of nature. a blustery wind thru the music. sringing clarity of “pure” sunlight, as the music is being blown in all directions by the “forces of nature(s)”.

6. music filled with openness, raw expression, different approaches. minimal & simple forms connecting a myriad of emotions with a minimum of “self-imposed restrictions or gestures.” all players exhibiting enormous flexibility contributing to the music’s endless possibilities & freedom. rapid decisions & often fierce tones ranging from the cluttered to the very spare. what may seem formulaic is totally intuitive & spontaneous. an integrated yet “natural isolation from one another.” it seems like “an undersea world of little creatures is erupting from the piano.”

7. everyone is very excited about the fact that the entire “GET SMART” series will finally be made available to the public in one package.

8. every piece contains all musical and metaphysical elements. an almost naive transparency. each player, at times undergoing a “simultaneous morphing.” an unavoidable lyricism. those moments when destiny meets choice. where the changes are made effortlessly. & everything is so quickly absorbed by every member of the ensemble. each knowing what is happening yet each guided by an unseen “cosmic” force causing complete transformation. parallel declarations & ambiguities. handfuls of universe collapsing into themselves & reforming.

9. overture/prelude. cosmic suite. disarming. twisted. disorienting. met. grown. fluid, visual, articulate topographies. atoms deconstructing & reconstructing. weird presences & integrated notes. disjointed movements & colors splashed across the studio splitting the soul of earth, upending the roots of the invisible wind that pushes the trees & shadows around on the terrace. a tribute & challenge to unending nature. a music that has now assumed shape within this shapeless vacuum we are enveloped by.


  • Daniel says: “lt took me awhile to get comfortable”
  • Joe says:  “It’s like lumpy oatmeal”
  • Whit says: “I was cosmic before I got here but now I’m more cosmic”
  • Matthew says: “I think we got the album. No need to record anymore”

liner notes by steve dalachinsky 1/31/08 NYC@Penthouse 57 – Thanks Leon



CD version (incl. shipment cost world-wide)

$ 16.00
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