Roscoe Mitchell + Matthew Shipp – Accelerated Projection (2018)

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As acknowledged lions of free jazz one generation apart, you could say that Roscoe Mitchell and Matthew Shipp have crossed paths a time or two. Shipp was mentored by the pioneering saxophone great in the early 90s while a member of the latter’s Note Factory, first appearing on a Mitchell recording This Dance Is for Steve McCall from ’92. Just three years later, the two recorded as peers on 2-Z in a duet under Shipp’s name.

The two have long since moved on to other projects (as restless artists tend to do), but their association didn’t end with the 90s. Accelerated Projection was just released by RogueArt, finally bringing to the light of day a stirring live performance in Italy from 2005.

Like 2-Z, these set of flash compositions — a suite of seven in all — are exhibits of inspired spontaneity and empathy. Roscoe Mitchell, on alto/tenor saxes and flute, does his characteristic scalar bending as Matthew Shipp, when he plays with grace, plays his piano with the poise of Ellington even as he plays the notes of Mitchell. He’s alone for the second part, but the older master’s presence remains strongly felt, channeling himself through Shipp’s fingers though the pianist’s own imprint remains, too. The baton is handed off to Mitchell for the next section and it feels as if a little bit of Shipp rubbed off on him, keeping this a duet in mind even when it’s not a duet in actuality.

When the two converge again on part IV, they feed off each other in a seven-minute passage of pure, unrelenting energy released in unison. A contrasting respite is offered on the following passage, a barren sonic terrain brought forth by Roscoe Mitchell’s flute and Matthew Shipp’s widely diffused chords. Next, Shipp engages in mischief with the intervals between chords and Mitchell gamely plays along. Of course, the light mood doesn’t sustain and another amazingly coordinated chase for notes ensues.

After the long fermenting period, Accelerated Projection is nevertheless just as relevant today as it did when the music was pulled from thin air more than twelve years before release. The product from true innovators the caliber of Roscoe Mitchell and Matthew Shipp will always remains apart from the time when it was made.


S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. E-mail him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews .com or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SVictorAaron
S. Victor Aaron
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