A special night at The Vortex Jazz Club [11 Gillett Square]. Pianist Matthew Shipp shared his first residency night there with veteran saxophonist Evan Parker. A concert divided into two steps: piano and soprano, then piano and tenor saxophone.
The combination of a horn instrument and of a piano necessarily reminds of Steve Lacy and Mal Waldron. Not by chance, since as Mr Shipp himself told me, Mal Waldron seems to be as underrated as influent on the evolution of piano music, from Thelonious Monk up to contemporary piano nuances in opening the space.
The other term of comparison, Steve Lacy, is worth in underlining how much both he and Evan Parker have been masters soprano players and the most important post-Coltrane figures in the improvised music world: working on harmonics in an ellyptical and askew way the first, while the last developed through time a style that brought him from de-construction - atomizing phrases in smaller particles - to re-construction - mostly using circular breathing so to give coherence to music through playing.
On tenor, Evan Parker seemed to be playing a kind of mutant instrument, so obliquously that in developing the shortest phrases you seem to hear an alto whose pitches loose into a listless denial to bop. Otherwise Matthew Shipp gave shape to one of his most solid renditions, trying to avoid open chords and working on emphasizing and reinforcing the flowing of music.
This is not the first time the two musicians played together. At least another encounter occurred that year, at the NY Vision Festival, while a recor, "Abbey Road Duos", was issued in 2007 by Treader. It seems that tonight concert would become another record, thanks to the French label Rogue Art.