Recorded over a two-year period in New York city this is the free improvising avant pairing of alto saxophonist Darius Jones and pianist Matthew Shipp. The duo released a 13-part song cycle Cosmic Lieder also on Aum Fidelity three years ago. Jones has a very authoritative sound on opener ‘Celestial Fountain’ that matches Shipp’s method here, by turns glassy, buoyant, and emphatic as Jones trills high in the instrument’s register an eerie calm already. Shipp’s sound still shares the sense of power Cecil Taylor has always harnessed, the shifting fluid metres, poetic astringency, and recalibrated tonality. But Taylor’s influence is an increasingly distant drum now, Shipp clearly an innovator himself. Maybe it’s more cinematic than Craig Taborn at his freest, and a step away surely from Marilyn Crispell these days, but all three players share a fundamental sound space and inventiveness in common. The Darkseid Recital is a very serious and satisfying album, lament-laden in its best parts (for instance at the beginning of ‘Life Equation’) Jones magisterial in his achingly contoured opaque legato phrases, Shipp inventive harmonically in poetic atonality beneath the abstract saxophonic confessional. The agony and the ecstasy, it’s all here. UK/Ireland release: 25 August
Guitarist Nguyên Lê has recorded a new studio album to be released by his long term label ACT this autumn celebrating Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side Of The Moon collaborating with the NDR Big Band playing arrangements mainly by the French Vietnamese player with orchestrations by Mike Gibbs, with featured artists singer Youn Sun Nah, drummer Gary Husband, and bass guitarist Jürgen Attig. Tracks include songs from the classic album, and Nguyên Lê's own compositions. Nguyên Lê, above. Photo: Patrick Essex/ACT
Here's some real natural YouTube footage from last night's Slieve Donard Hotel show in Newcastle, county Down. In what must have been a surprise to the audience, blues legend Taj Mahal joined Van Morrison and the band on 'Alabamy Bound' (a song Morrison recorded with Lonnie Donegan on The Skiffle Sessions), and 'It Takes A Worried Man', the song you can listen to above, a number made famous by the Carter Family in 1930.