Springheel Jack Live

After groundbreaking early work in the realm of drum & bass, the duo of Wales and Coxon, who make up Spring Heel Jack, have all but turned their backs on that scene. What they've achieved since has been as excellent as it is perplexing. This live album, two previous albums in the Blue Series; an exploratory set of jazz recordings curated by Matthew Shipp. SHJ's entries in the series have managed to push aside preconceptions about the place of jazz in modern music without abandoning its idioms and history. The duo is rejoined by Matthew Shipp on fender Rhodes and his long-time associate, William Parker on bass. From the European side of things we find legendary sax player Evan Parker and drummer Han Bennink. J Spaceman, ex of Spaceman 3, is also on hand to provide guitar and additional wonderment. The septet all but ignore the pieces from Masses and Amassed, their previous albums, and let things flow over two long improvised sections recorded in the UK this past January. The music is simultaneously recognisable, owing to the touchstone of ’70s Miles Davis fusing jazz and rock, yet it has its own character. The second section, especially the latter half, delivers on the promise made by (failed) fusion experiments of the last 30 years. The worlds of free jazz, rock and electronics meet like long lost puzzle pieces and, for the span of half an hour, make a marvellous whole picture. (Thirsty Ear)