Themes 4 Transformation has been selected as a recommended release for the month by New York City Jazz Record Magazine. ” - Laurence Donohue-Greene, Managing Editor

The New York City Jazz Record

Themes 4 Transmutation “…a superb, often laid-back not too-free session with a calm center.”” - Bruce Gallanter

Downtown Music Gallery

Themes 4 Transmutation ...In the 1960's, Bobby was a seminal figure in the so-called new music movement in NYC, recording with Gato Barbieri, Archie Shepp, Noah Howard and others.  Part 1 of his dream was to return to NYC and record with the other heavyweights on this cd...pianist Matthew Shipp, bassist Tyler Mitchell, and Ras Moshe on saxophones and flute.  He'd already worked out in his head and his heart the ebb and flow of the 4 part suite Themes 4 Transmutation.  Once he returned to his current home in San Miguel de Allende he began putting the plans in motion.  The studios were booked, the musicians committed to the date, and when they ultimately assembled this one night in New York City they all put the heart and soul into creating the remarkable music on this cd.  The communication and the synergy between the four musicians appears to have been intense and magical.  Gentle, powerful, sweet, tender, genuinely creative...it's all expressed here in the 4 movements of this suite.   ” - Ron J. Pelletier

Jazz From Gallery 41

A New Jersey native living in Mexico, Bobby Kapp brings a sense of humor and fun to older classics and new originals that begins with the album’s title – “blue white boy” in Spanish. After a boisterous opening instrumental, featuring Cuban pianist Gabriel Hernandez and called (appropriately enough) “Power Chords,” Kapp follows with his second straight original – the sly and ingratiating, Spanglish-sung “El Guero Azul.” Tenor man Jorge Brauet adds a grease-popping honk, giving the song a lascivious wit. Alex Guardiola then steps forward for a ringing trumpet solo, as clean and propulsive as anything put forward for legends like Arturo Sandoval – before Kapp throws a fun curveball with the addition of a bluesy turn on harmonica. He doesn’t present it, ala Toots Thielemans, as a jazz instrument but rather reshapes the tune to fit around his R&B soaked turn. Already, El Guero Azul has shown itself to be as fizzy, offbeat delight. Next, the group takes on Cole Porter’s “Get Out of Town,” with bassist Jaime Ferrada and drummer Victor Monterrubio setting a torrid pace. Hernandez’s fleet fingers then open the door for a series of muscular lines from Brauet and Guardiola. By the time Kapp appears, ready to rip off another solo-like bit of scat-inflected singing, the track has reached cruising altitude. Kapp then lays out while Guardiola unleashes a stunning flurry of notes. “Fly Me to the Moon,” the Bart Howard standard, arrives then like a long, slow, stress-busting exhalation. He’s just as adept in one atmosphere as another. That impressive, very musicianly approach to a lyric from Kapp – who’s had a varied and intriguing career in jazz – actually comes quite naturally. He’d played drums with Gato Barbieri and Dexter Gordon before ever turning his attentions to the microphone. From there, Kapp would place in the Top 10 at the well-known Monk International Vocal Competition, and subsequently mounted extensive tours with Gene Perla and the Fine Wine Trio. Living now in the artist colony of San Miguel de Allende, Kapp’s collaboration with Hernandez also saw the pianist handling arrangements for El Guero Azul – and they are big part of what makes even the more shopworn selections from the Great American Songbook sizzle here. “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square,” for instance, is given a regal makeover, providing the perfect platform for one of Kapp’s most considered vocals. “Naima,” the tricky Coltrane classic, offers a unique opportunity for this group to display its jazz chops – and Brauet, Kapp and the active but never distracting Monterrubio never disappoint. Meanwhile, “Old Mexico” undulates with a smart sensuality, as Kapp riffs on a series of scenes from his adopted homeland. The similarly titled “Mexico City Blues” couldn’t be more different, as Kapp dives headlong into the harp-driven soul only hinted at earlier on the title track. When the rest of the group belatedly joins in, the song begins to jump and shimmy like an old Blue Note side. Tadd Dameron’s “If You Could See Me Now” is a perfectly attenuated selection, as Kapp’s bop-styled phrasing seamlessly meshes. The original “Zuhia,” named after the Zihuatanejo fishing village on Mexico’s Costa Grande, flashes and feints like a particularly active school of underwater marine life – even as Kapp completely inhabits a sun-filled lyric that recalls nothing so much as Michael Franks. Finally, there’s “Caravan” – the legendary Juan Tizol-Duke Ellington collaboration. Hernandez sets a lickety-split pace for Kapp to fill with his whiskey-soaked asides, before Brauet bursts in with a torrent of notes. Kapp answers with a gruff improvisation, matched step for step by his pianist. Finally, Guardiola brings the group back around to the main theme with a dizzy little Gillespie-esque run. It’s a tour-de-force finale to an endlessly involving vocal record with plenty of jazz chops.      ” - Nick Deriso

SomethingelseReviews.com

19.pdf” - Ken Waxman

NYC Jazz Record

Brazilian saxophonist Ivo Perelman & American pianist Matthew Shipp have an exceptionally close working association. Corpo is their 15th collaboration on Leo Records since 2012 alone, and Shipp has described it as: “the ultimate coming together of everything Ivo and I have been working on…apotheosis of the Perelman/Shipp duo (language and) cosmos.” Shipp’s relationship with veteran drummer Bobby Kapp (b. 1942) carries less historic weight, and that has its up-side. Shipp is still Shipp, of course – always vibrantly imperious – and the music on Cactus (Northern Spy) is every bit as dynamic as his duo with Perelman, but it’s a more brittle and frisky, less compacted dynamic. Kapp was active in the underground jazz movement in 60s New York, and played on a handful of choice recordings of the time: one half of Brown’s Three for Shepp (Impulse!, 1966), Gato Barbieri’s In Search of the Mystery (1967) and Noah Howard’s At Judson Hall (1968)—both on ESP—and Dave Burrell’s High (Douglas, 1969). At some point, however, Kapp relocated from New York to the artist’s colony of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, and effectively dropped off-radar. He recently recorded two albums of piano jazz standards with the unpromisingly-named Fine Wine Trio, but a brief reunion with Howard before the latter’s death in 2010 was a more accurate pointer to 2014’s Kapp ‘comeback’ album Themes 4 Transmutation, on which Shipp played alongside bassist Tyler Mitchell and saxophonist/flautist Ras Moshe. Kapp has an economical, pan-rhythmic style firmly rooted in a tradition that accommodates both Shelly Manne and Sunny Murray. He’s typically busy, probing and gestural – all light snare and brisk cymbals.   Shipp, who is 20 odd years the drummer’s junior, rightly says that Kapp: “combines the best of old school drumming with a real feel for pulse and breaking the circle that exists in the avant-garde. He can open the beat up in a way where you can flow with the wave and never lose the line.” Shipp’s own lines have a more ineluctable fluidity, but he’s always diligent, and ready, like water, to ply unexpected directions of frictionless accord with the drummer’s agitations. Of course these are reductions. While Knapp as a habit of breaking into briskly spry rhythm, Shipp’s style can be angular. The two play off each other’s changeable moods. The album’s opening cuts and “Good Wood” are restlessly, ceaselessly inventive and indubitably musical. On the latter – a piece top-and-tailed by variegated Knapp percussion solos, Shipp seems to get right under the skin of his own style. “Snow Storm Coming” flows on from “Good Wood” with heightened drama and dynamic contrast, and incidental contrasts abound everywhere. Where “During” has Shipp at his most lyrical and darkly romantic, “The 3rd Sound” is skeletal and deliberately fitful, and “Money” is jaunty, with Shipp, uncommonly loose, concocting a light melodic rain of one note hits as Knapp essays a loose swing time with brushes. The title track is the album’s most thoughtful, original and least deterministic piece, and perhaps the choice pick after “Good Wood”. Curiously, the CD cover lists one piece, “Drum-a-Phone” which, if the album’s Bandcamp page is correct, isn’t actually included. Corpo is an altogether more crepuscular and nuanced affair, and that’s not just because the drums are essentially expansive and the saxophone more accommodating of cerebral introspection. As Shipp intimated, his rapport with Perelman is by now so refined that theirs has become a fluid duologue with characteristic, intuitive subtleties and few external references. Perelman is one of the most exceptional saxophonists currently recording. He’s a syncretist, like David Murray, with a comprehensive feel for ‘the tradition’ but his own sound and approach. His style – hitherto more in tune with European free-jazz than Murray’s – has matured over the years, from an anguished and impassioned sound in the 90s to something altogether more considered and refined. Where Shipp and Kapp trade gestures, every cut by Shipp and Perelman incises new entries in an ongoing dialogue. So their decision-making is more granular, and their music flows with instinctive nuance. Perhaps for this reason, its individual pieces, all first takes, are simply numbered “Part 1” to “Part 12”, and aren’t as easily dissected. Highlights include the duo’s prismatic phraseology on “Part 3”, Shipp’s flinty response to Perelman’s bruised, almost lachrymose vulnerability on “Part 4”, and the tension that engenders, which is resolved in “Part 5” with a courtly, sensuous rapprochement. “Part 6” is the longest cut at just 6:13, and the album’s best stand-alone example of the duo’s fluidity in superbly in-check dynamism: on “Part 7” they hold each other at a distance, playing off one another, gracile as dancers, in perfect equilibrium. The brief “Part 8” sounds like an intellectually playful game, and “Part 9” (my personal choice cut) has its own fascinating and uniquely compelling dramaturgy, but there’s no remove from the listener, because this music’s overriding sensitivity is poetic and essentially melodic, making it supremely seductive. Perelman plays a ravishing intro and lead tenor line in “Part 11” that sets up a suppressed tension in Shipp’s response, which finds intermittent release in “Part 12” through urgent, compacted irruptions of forceful expression. For the most part, though, it’s what this duo holds in abeyance through tempering and modulation that makes Corpo so deeply and richly compelling. MusiciansCorpo: Ivo Perelman saxophones; Matthew Shipp piano.Cactus: Bobby Kapp drums; Matthew Shipp piano.” - Tim Owen

Dalston Sound

Il disco in questione vede a confronto due musicisti che rappresentano due diverse generazioni di musicisti free, il batterista Bobby Kapp, uno che ha registrato negli anni ’60 insieme a Gato Barbieri e Noah Howard su ESP, o su Impulse con Marion Brown ed il pianista Matthew Shipp, abbastanza noto per le tante incisioni, dal quartetto di David Ware a quelle più recenti insieme a Ivo Perelman. Sono due musicisti che condividono lo stesso linguaggio, il free, ma con esperienze diverse alle spalle, più tormentate dal punto di vista biografico quelle di Kapp, che permettono un dialogo reale, complesso, che dà frutto ad una musica che non si pone confini o restrizioni da un brano all’altro, completamente improvvisata al momento. Non mancano i momenti più tranquilli, Drum – a – Phone ne è un esempio, ma è chiaro fin dall’Ouverture che apre il disco che la lezione di Cecil Taylor è una di quelle cui si fa riferimento è che quindi il pianoforte può essere trattato come uno strumento a percussione, da cui escono però melodie interessanti, come su Good Wood, una ricerca continua di idee, di situazioni inusuali che spuntano all’improvviso. Before è un brano interessante, in cui spunta un inusitato swing dal piano, spinto in ciò da un batterista molto empatico ed allo stesso tempi riservato, che usa per lo più i piatti del proprio set. During comincia con un assolo del batterista, cui dopo si aggiunge un adrenalico pianoforte, molto interessante Money, in cui viene fuori uno swing che collega i due musicisti ad ua tradizione che è importante. Cactus dà il titolo al disco, Shipp sembra un novello Monk, ma con più energia nel modo di proporsi al pubblico. La musica dei due si ascolta con piacere, è un ottimo biglietto da visita per i due e l’avanguardia in genere. Un disco con tante qualità, non ultima quella di proiettare lo swing, patrimonio del genere mainstream, in un contesto moderno.” - Vittorio

Music Zone

After a productive period in the 1960s, drummer Bobby Kapp revived his career at the start of the millennium. Among his latter projects was The Fine Wine Trio with pianist Richard Wyands and bassist Gene Perla. The group was commissioned by the US State Department to tour Africa and Jordan as "Jazz Ambassadors." That music, being decidedly mainstream, did not reflect Kapp's free jazz affinity having played with the likes  Archie Sheppb.1937saxophone" data-original-title="">Archie Shepp and much more recently with alto saxophonist  Noah Howard1943 - 2010sax, alto" data-original-title="">Noah Howard on Between Two Eternities (Self-Produced, 2009). Throughout four decades, whether playing lounge jazz or avant-garde, Kapp has flown significantly and inexplicably below the radar.In polar opposition, we have Matthew Shipp. A force of nature whose readily identifiable style has made him one of the most notable and recognizable pianists. Controversial in his bombastic dislike of critics and a steadfast refusal to acknowledge the influence of any pianistic forbearers, Shipp would seem an unlikely personality match for the restrained Kapp. But music, being the great equalizer, the two teamed up as half of Kapp's quartet on the excellent (and grossly under-recognized) Themes 4 Transmutation (Self-Produced, 2014) and have now moved on to this outstanding duo outing, Cactus.The nine track set opens with "Overture" and finds Shipp taking the time to exploring antecedents and consequences of each facet of the piece. As he does so, Kapp shifts position frequently, sometimes in accord, often in contrast and eventually utilizing the entire kit to make his own distinctive statement. The bluesy motif of "Before" is more organized at the outset but moves into freer territory towards its conclusion. Kapp provides an extended and thundering introduction to "During" before Shipp heads down a path moving from abstraction to lyricism. A standout piece is "Money"; again featuring a lengthy opening solo from Kapp, this time both complex and nuanced. Shipp's playing here is sprightly and expressive, his angular approach softened but not completely exenterated.Cactus is impressive from both musical and organization standpoints. The symmetry between Kapp and Shipp suggests nothing less than two players who can manage the balance of structure and freedom while having no tolerance for ambiguity. The music is engaging from beginning to end and, more importantly, there is an element of surprise in each piece that makes the overall album extremely satisfying. Kapp is now seventy-four and it's about time for him to get some higher level of recognition. With the Shipp brand in play, Cactus may be the album to move the needle.” - KARL ACKERMANN

All About Jazz

DOWNBEAT  The not-so-well-known veteran drummer Bobby Kapp became active in the 1960s, playing with saxophonists Gato Barbieri and Noah Howard. Pianist Matthew Shipp has attained a similar veteran status, but his output has been way more prolific. Recorded at Systems Two in Brooklyn, this duo debut highlights an exposed meeting between these empathetic players. On the opening “Overture,” Shipp follows a linear path, but its trajectory is always darting about, switching speed and direction. It’s filled up with sideline ornamentation and littered with sudden detouring embellishments. Kapp works here with cymbals, lightly dancing beside Shipp, who slams dark clusters, simultaneously delivering right-hand rivulets. Kapp is airy, but efficiently targeted. There is a continual restless change afoot, even within each piece, due in part to Shipp’s nervy dominance. Nevertheless, Kapp follows quickly, and in deep sympathy. Shipp opens “Before” with a conventionally walking bass line, and “Money” has an odd, bluesy swing. The song straddles traditions, gradually breaking apart to gain greater space. Shipp burrows under his lid for harp-like shivers, as Kapp continues his perpetual abstractions. Even if Kapp isn’t using brushes, his skimming circulations always sound feather-light.  “Snow Storm Coming” is not really a track at all, more of a conceptual statement (its total length is listed at 00:00). A hammering, pugilistic bass overtakes “Drum-A-Phone” with big sustain, opening up to some lighter spaces. It’s a nice lead into the halting plod of “The 3rd Sound.” At just over an hour, the soundscape elements sometimes sound too stretched, with a certain aura of re-visitation, but this album remains a sensitive dialog between two highly articulate speakers. —Martin Longley” - Martin Longley

Downbeat Magazine

Sign up to get the latest updates on album releases and concert dates.

Email Updates