Solos and Duos Series: Matthew Shipp/Darius Jones
October 23, 2014
Fine Arts Center Bezanson Recital Hall
UMass Amherst Campus
The intergenerational partnership of Darius Jones (alto saxophone) and Matthew Shipp (piano) features one of New York’s most talked about young talents and one of its most established and prolific veterans. On their 2011 debut recording, Cosmic Lieder (AUM Fidelity), they create an expansive 13-part song cycle that Jazzwise called "a form of pure expression that transcends notions of genre or style."
“If titles mean anything, Cosmic Lieder is rather clever,” writes Brian Morton. “ Lied in the singular simply implies song with some degree of literary quality behind it, but Lieder tend to deliver some kind of cyclical narrative, some sense of journey or soul’s progress, and that is exactly what these two remarkable musicians have created here: a sequence of out-of-body journeyings that you might reasonably imagine Sun Ra and John Gilmore making, significant as much in their silences and elisions as in anything actually said, full of dark matter and tonal dust, interrupted by violent outbursts, punctuated by calms that seem prepared to run on forever."
Pianist, producer and composer Matthew Shipp arrived in New York City over 25 years ago and has since become one of the most important players on the downtown avant-garde scene. Rolling Stone Magazine calls him, “one of the most daring and original pianists in jazz, positioned in a lineage between Thelonious Monk and Cecil Taylor.”
Born in 1960 in Wilmington, Delaware, Shipp studied at the University of Delaware and the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. Shipp and bassist William Parker are charter members of the David S. Ware Quartet, one of the most important small groups in recent jazz history. Shipp has recorded with Roscoe Mitchell’s Note Factory, DJ Spooky, Roy Campbell, and Mat Maneri. Since his 1987 debut with Rob Brown, (Sonic Explorations), he has released 49 recordings as a leader.
Darius Jones is an extraordinarily gifted alto saxophonist and composer. Since moving to New York in 2005 after living and studying in Richmond, Virginia, Jones has amazed and inspired musicians and audiences from widely divergent backgrounds. "Darius Jones has the capacity for a proud, rafters-raising tone on alto saxophone,” writes Nate Chinen in the New York Times, “and as an improviser he's fearless but disciplined.”
Since 2009 Jones has released three highly acclaimed albums for AUM Fidelity: Man'ish Boy (A Raw and Beautiful Thing), with Rakalam Bob Moses and Cooper-Moore; Big Gurl (Smell My Dream), featuring Adam Lane and Jason Nazary; and Book of Mæ'bul (Another Kind of Sunrise) with Matt Mitchell, Trevor Dunn and Ches Smith.
"Once again drawing on his Southern roots for inspiration, Jones revels in a program that runs the gamut from tender balladry to testimonial fervor,” writes Troy Collins, “with a penchant for all things funky underscoring the date. Fulfilling (and exceeding) expectations, Big Gurl (Smell My Dream) is a rightfully compelling follow-up to his stunning debut. With another installment already in the works, Jones has set the stage for a winning series of albums designed to document his rise as one of the most impressive and unique voices of our time."
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