Daniel Carter / Matthew Shipp / William Parker / Gerald Cleaver – Welcome Adventure! Vol. 1 (577 Records)


Multi-instrumentalist (in this case Tenor Saxophone, Trumpet, and Flute) Daniel Carter has been playing with bassist William Parker (David S. Ware/ Peter Brotzmann) since the 70’s and pianist Matthew Shipp (David S. Ware) since the 80’s. Drummer Gerald Cleaver is a newer acquisition.

All of these musicians are pretty much labelled, ‘experimental’, ‘avant garde’ or exploratory, thanks to their propensity to think musically outside of the square and collaborate with everyone from Thurston Moore to El-P or DJ Spooky. And despite their propensity for downtown NYC freejazz this is anything but a screeching honk fest. In fact in the main it’s quite restrained despite its improvised nature. There are of course moments of searching, of throwing notes at the canvas and seeing what will stick, yet in time the form seems to find them, albeit a strange and unique form. It says a lot of the calibre and confidence of these improvisers that they’re equally adept when the groove comes as when they’re in free space. They’re also very willing to lean back and enjoy the musicality.

The experience of these players is readily apparent. They know how to listen. They give each other space. They realise the sum of the parts is greater than the individual. It feels egoless. It feels like a master class in improvisation. This music is not about trying to prove anything. There is no axe to grind in fact often the playing is quite conventional, as they dip into affecting atmospheric moods, and as they dip out, the arrangements get wild. An individual couldn’t compose this. It’s collective in the moment composition – a beautiful and unique work of experimental jazz. And as the titke suggests it’s also only the first volume. Stay tuned.


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Bob is the features editor of Cyclic Defrost. He is also evil. You should not trust the opinions of evil people.