If there is a valid criticism of this site’s work, its our paucity of recordings of NYC’s vibrant modern and avant jazz community. We have been steadfast (particularly since EricPH joined the crew) in our documentation of the local noise scene, which has on occasion crossed the line into jazz (Zs at Bowery) but when it comes to the legendary performers playing in our midst, we’ve been remiss. But what we experienced and captured on Saturday at Trans-Pecos should go a long way towards rectifying the slight.
Matthew Shipp has been a fixture in the NYC jazz scene for more than three decades. His solo work has been lauded since he became a regular in the downtown new jazz clubs in the early 90s for his unique expressive freeform style. He’s also been a collaborative performer most notably as a longtime member of the David S. Ware group. My first experience seeing Shipp live was at the old Knitting Factory on Leonard Street in the late 90s at a show where he teamed with frequent partner bassist (and current Trans-Pecos curator) William Parker.
Bobby Kapp too has a long and storied history in NYC jazz that dates even further back, as Kapp first came onto the scene in the 1960s, most notably as the drummer for the great and recently-departed Gato Barbieri’s on his first album, the 1967 classic In Search of the Mystery. Kapp’s lengthy musical journey now finds him in San Miguel De Allende, the artistic center of Mexico City. In between, Bobby Kapp has appeared on countless albums, played on several continents, and indeed has been recognized by the US State Department officially as the “Ambassador of Jazz”.
Matthew Shipp and Bobby Kapp first collaborated for Kapp’s 2014 EP Themes 4 Transmutation in a quartet. But earlier this year, the two met as a duo for an improvisation session that became Cactus, an album ultimately released on Northern Spy Records on September 16. The following day, this Trans-Pecos performance operated as the official CD release event. But instead of attempting to recreate the Cactus session, the duo instead performed a nearly fifty-minute new improvisational session that the artists have entitled “Live at Trans Pecos”. The piece offers a unique opportunity to experience the live creation of once-only music by two jazz legends. The ability of Shipp to construct melodies and then meticulously descontruct them is matched by Kapp’s profound touch on the drums — the on-the-dime movement from subtle taps on the cymbals to crashing snares perfectly in sync with Shipp’s journey. I’ve now listened to this piece four times and I’m still flabbergasted at the ability of these two artists to work so well in tandem and produce such breathtakingly moving music.
I recorded this set with the Neumann LD’s mounted in front of the stage to capture the drums in stereo and mixed with two separate feeds of the piano mics. The sound quality is superb. Enjoy!
Stream the Complete Set:
Matthew Shipp and Bobby Kapp
Digital Master Recording
Soundboard + On-Stage Audience Matrix
Soundboard + Neumann TLM-102s > Edirol R-44 (Oade Concert Mod) > 2 x 24bit 48kHz wav files > Soundforge (post production) > CDWave 1.95 (tracking) > TLH > flac (320 MP3 and tagging via Foobar)
Recorded and Produced
[Total Time 47:36]
01 Live at Trans Pecos