Various Visionfest: Visionlive

Another entry into Matthew Shipp's Blue Series of new jazz, recorded during last year's Vision Festival in New York City. Nine live performances culled from a week's worth of music makes for an excellent peek through the keyhole, but leaves us wishing we'd been invited to the whole party. And what a party: meetings between the current vanguard of free jazz and veterans of the genre; such as the snippet from the Kidd Jordan/Fred Anderson Quartet. The two sax giants are joined by drummer Hamid Drake and bassist William Parker who appear to round out nearly half the ensembles on the record. Another burning moment is the piece by the Billy Bang Trio: duelling violin and baritone sax (Hamiett Bluiett) quelled by the exotic tones of komungo (Jin Hi Kim). The disc also features an improv solo performance by bassist Peter Kowald not long before his death last year, the droning tones made all the more funereal by that knowledge. A DVD recorded in 5.1 surround sound is the other half of this package. While the sound is remarkable, sadly the disc features all the same tracks from the CD (providing only one new performance) and is filmed like a parent taping a high school play. (Thirsty Ear)