We gave it an A
Finally, someone really gets this jazz-electronic fusion thing right. Shipp is a piano polymath whose thought-provoking records sometimes snub pleasure principles. Not this one. Folding the spacious tunefulness of 2001’s New Orbit into the free-improv/digi-beat battlefield of last year’s Nu Bop, he’s made a perfect 41-minute album that balances wide-open melodic inventions with crisp, time-stopping grooves. For proof, witness ”Cohesion,” where FLAM’s shell-game electronics circle Gerald Cleaver’s in-the-hip-hop-pocket drumming while Shipp turns a three-chord invocation into a mating ritual of spiraling runs and McCoy Tyner-ish cluster bombs. Bass giant William Parker lays intricate roots per usual, but the secret weapon is vibraphone vet Khan Jamal, whose harmonic sparkle frees Shipp to explore rhythms and embellish loops. BEAT POETICS Forthcoming team-ups with rap avant-gardists Anti-Pop Consortium (due Feb. 18) and El-P find Shipp further exploding the narrow, neocon, Wynton Marsalis vision of jazz possibility. Thanks, dude.