steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Andrew Barker, Matthew Shipp, Charles Waters

"Apostolic Polyphony" CD

Drimala Records

Genres: free jazz, improv

Drimala Records
PO Box 69044
Hampton, VA

Aug 11 - 17 2003

Apostolic Polyphony, a collaboration between drummer Andrew Barker, pianist Matthew Shipp, and clarinetist / saxist Charles Waters, is just the type of free jazz that makes improv fans go wild. Every track on this energetic record serves only to reaffirm how talented this bunch is.

The disc opens with "Part-one Invention", an eleven and a half minute introduction to the ensemble's sound. Right from the start they come off as very enthusiastic players. Barker's unrelenting percussion provides the perfect rhythmic balance to Shipp's surprisingly tuneful piano playing and Waters' passionate playing. Another highlight is definitely "Three-part Invention," a notably moody piece featuring some terrific saxophone playing; Waters uses complex slurs complemented by longer sustained notes to build an almost cinematic atmosphere. His playing becomes more abrupt and sudden to bring on the track's climax. The background accompaniment by the piano and drums flows well with the sax. The track's final minute comprises one of the most exuberant free improv moments in recent history. Shannon Fields' electronic remix of "Part-four Invention" is also included here; it's a remarkable experimental track that combines the band's enthusiastic instrumentation with messed up computer music.

Free jazz and improv fans would be well advised to seek out Apostolic Polyphony. The eight performances on this disc see Barker, Shipp, and Waters performing at their best. The results are mind-blowing.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 8 tracks, distributed by the label, released 2003]