East Axis - Cool With That

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Allen Lowe says: “To me, free improvisation is another form of narrative, just as linear in terms of the consciousness of moving from one place to another, as any kind of storytelling. Yes, anyone can do it, you might say (and this is an old argument in jazz circles) but not everyone can do it with purpose and form and like they really mean it. This group is the epitome of all that has changed for the better in jazz in the past 50 years, and I am thrilled to be in it.”

Kevin Ray says: “This band is both exhilarating and terrifying to play with. You never know where the music will go, just that it’s somewhere exciting, and you hope you can keep up. Allen has a wonderful sense of melody, Matt is an endless font of ideas, and this rhythm section is a dream to be in—Gerald is tasteful, stunningly creative, and grooves like hell. I’m so glad to be a part of it.”

Matthew Shipp says: “I am always looking for new situations to renew who I am and the language I am involved with—this group has allowed me to reboot my brain. Allen is a unique figure, who is unlike anyone I play with in any other situation. Kevin has a delicious cross section of experience over several genres that gives him a different look than a bassist who might be seen as the usual in the idiom. Gerald—who I have a history with—is different now because he has had such a deep and cross section of experiences since then. The music this group makes is unique. I really enjoy playing with these gentlemen.”

Gerald Cleaver says: “To paraphrase Miles Davis, ‘This is social music.’ My take on free jazz is that it’s not free at all, rather (in my mind) many, many contexts and frames of reference held at once. Playing this set with Matt, Allen, & Kevin took me through some really nice interactions and reaffirmed for me that the roots of this music are still strong.”

Karl Ackerman of allaboutjazz.com writes:
"Free improvisation has a special place in a polarized world. It accepts and rejects jazz culture in an ebb and flow of spontaneous ideas. On the album Cool With That, we get the essence of the music's history from the inside out. The quartet East Axis is new in name, but the unit has been in place for several years, and its members are well-known. Pianist Matthew Shipp, saxophonist Allen Lowe, bassist Kevin Ray and drummer Gerald Cleaver are at the top of the elite artists in creative music.

"In August 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic experienced a relative lull between peaks in the NYC area. The quartet went into a Brooklyn studio with little in the way of preparation. They came out with an excellent finished product. A lot is going on inside Cool With That, much of it simultaneously. These extended, improvisations require elastic thinking and focused attention to keep the music from going off the rails. "A Side" shows a command of endurance and timing as the twelve-minute journey avoids crossing the same ground more than once. Shipp and Ray open the topical "Social Distance" with slow blues, soon joined by Lowe's empathetic deep tenor. The moody, serpentine sax owns much of this piece and serves as a calling card for the under-recognized Lowe. At almost a half-hour, "One" is an expedition and primer in spur-of-the-moment interaction. Approaching frenetic at times, Shipp seamlessly guides the music with his abundant penchant for blending accessibility and freedom. His interactions with Ray and Cleaver are constantly setting new ideas in motion." 


SKU 82548150642
Barcode # 825481506427
Brand ESP Disk

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