This release goes some way to prove, although it often has already seemed evident, that Craig Taborn and Vijay Iyer are on the same wavelength. They both excel in pushing boundaries, finding new means of expression, examining and fashioning a new language that is both mysterious and yet somehow familiar.
All the more remarkable that The Transitory Poems (ECM, **** RECOMMENDED) is a live album, recorded in the Hungarian capital Budapest, dedicatees of tracks include Muhal Abram Richards, Geri Allen and Cecil Taylor and you can with these totemic figures cited trace a firm lineage in their approach.
You might argue that an album such as this sits as much in the contemporary classical domain and certainly there is a case for this. But however you wish to categorise and that is probably not a good idea the overriding sense you gain from the collaboration is how agile and alert the improvisers are in a complete communion with the other’s approach. There are so many layers at work, rippling undercurrents that thicken and intensify the lean figures that somehow represent a much larger musical landscape. Look for this very special album on release in March.
Vijay Iyer above left with Craig Taborn. Photo Ssirus Pakzad.
The title track from the quick witted trio album Combobulated (Tom Rainey with Ingrid Laubrock and Mary Halvorson), which is new this month on Intakt records.
One of the things that I like most about Matthew Shipp is that he is completely genuine in his approach. There is nothing fake about his improvisational style. He is not a lifestyle product! He lays down his improvisations raw and untreated. Signature finds the former David S. Ware Quartet player in a trio situation, the themes lean and tender, or sometimes scraps of an idea that somehow translate into elegance and logical development. With the bassist Michael Bisio and drummer Newman Taylor Baker Shipp has found soulmates in this studio recording continuing their longstanding work together. A must for free-jazz fans. SG