Review: Darius Jones-Matthew Shipp Cosmic Lieder Duo – The Darkseid Recital

The Darkseid Recital

AUM Fidelity (CD/DL)

Personnel:

Track Listing:

  1. Celestial Fountain
  2. 2,327,694,748
  3. Granny Goodness
  4. Gardens of Yivaroth
  5. Lords of Woe
  6. Life Equation
  7. Sepulchre of Mandrakk
  8. Divine Engine
  9. Novu’s Final Gift

Saxophonist Darius Jones and pianist Matthew Shipp shine in their second collaboration. They both deliver stellar performances on this recording. Each song takes listeners to a different place. It will most certainly hit listeners in areas they never knew existed within their bodies and minds. I have had the pleasure of working with both musicians. I worked with Darius when he was a member of the Marc Edwards-Weasel Walter Group. I’m hearing shades of Darius’ playing from when I first saw him with the noise jazz band, Little Women. I worked with Matthew Shipp when he joined David S. Ware. I was impressed with Matthew’s playing from day one! Ware had scheduled a rehearsal at Context Studios, a rehearsal space on Avenue A, on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. I had arrived late as I was carrying my gear in the rain that evening. Matthew and David were already there when I entered the room. Some months later, I recall David saying, “Matthew is a harmonic genius!” The music on this CD is the result of many years of playing, and doing live shows.

Rather than doing a breakdown of each track, it is best to listen to this record as a live concert: just sit back and relax. The songs complement each other and makes for a phenomenal listening experience. Take track six, “Life Equations,” for example. It opens with Darius playing poly-phonics on his horn. Matthew provides an undercurrent of chordal support. The two begin a dance of their own, moving to a more exploratory improvisational space. While the music is improvised, the songs sound like written compositions. Some of the tracks were taken from a live performance, while the others were done in a studio. All of the songs on this album flow seamlessly into each other, maintaining the same feeling. There’s hardly a difference between the live and studio performances. This is quite an accomplishment. Regardless of the number of songs, the album comes across as one long performance.

Having listened and played with Matthew a lot, I have thought about his playing. What I am hearing on this CD, is a full maturation of Matthew Shipp’s sound. Matthew and Darius work extremely well together. They move from playing almost inside jazz to the adventurous high energy free jazz explosions throughout this recording. Matthew has developed his own sound. It has become greatly expanded, and is now much fuller than it was when we both worked with Ware. As Darius explores his musical ideas, Matthew is quite adept at creating supportive counterpoint melodic lines. He plays the right thing at the right time. These two men work as one, so close is their musical connection. I found the music captivating, mesmerizing, and inspiring. Listen to the applause from the live performances, I get the feeling the audience wanted to hear more also. Do add this CD to your collection. Darius Jones and Matthew Shipp may be the best duo combo in the free jazz today.

–Marc Edwards, October 14, 2016