Modern day piano hero Matthew Shipp adds to his voluminous discography with this curiously interesting 2008 date, that at times, sketches out (less physical) parallels to latter day Trane and Cecil Taylor’s horns-based ensembles. Yet it’s not all about flexing muscle and relentlessly soaring into the heavens as the quartet mixes the brew rather jubilantly amid quieter moments and free-form motifs.
Here, Shipp guides the band via melodic overtones and twirling chord clusters while also creating some tension in spots. Featuring multi-reed ace Daniel Carter, the musical portraitures are teeming with contrasting frameworks and opposing angles. Think of beauty and the beast. Such is the nature of these interweaving suites that intimate appeasing harmonic elements and controlled firepower. More often than not the quartet turns up the heat, where the instrumentalists often subdivide when venturing into extensive soloing spots.
On "Cosmic Suite Part Four," the musicians whirl through a medium tempo shuffle bop, heightened by Carter’s animated sax lines. And of course Shipp remains a catalyst throughout by pushing and pulling the variable metrics. Moreover, drummer Whit Dickey stretches out on "Cosmic Suite Part Eight," whereas Carter reenters the scene with a reprisal that could be mistaken for a full-fledged aerial assault. In sum, Shipp and associates delve into a rather jazzy musical galaxy that doesn’t adhere to strict definitions of time or space, while presenting more than just a few mesmeric propositions.