Friday, April 23, 2010

Matthew Shipp and Sabir Mateen - SAMA (Not Two, 2010)

Pianist Matthew Shipp and multi-instrumentalist Sabir Mateen make for fascinating duet partners on this album, which is an eight part suite of completely improvised music recorded at the Roulette Studio in New York City. While Mateen plays a battery of instruments from saxohpone to flute, it appears that he sticks to clarinet throughout this recording. The high woody sound of the clarinet makes from a fascinating contrast with Shipp's often low and probing keyboard playing. Shipp's piano playing is clearly articulated and patient whether his is laying down a foundation for Mateen to improvise over, or engaging him in a head-to-head duet. Shipp lays down beautifully stark and dark toned chords and notes, and Mateen swirls and probes them in a natural and organic way. There is nothing forced about the music, the two work together seamlessly with a common goal and strategy in mind. The suite builds logically through a series of dynamic moods and textures, from fast paced free improvisation to long and low abstractions of melody and form. Both musicians are patient and sympathetic duet partners and they make music that has an open ended muse and graceful poise. Sama - amazon.com

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