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Carter, Daniel / William Parker / Matthew Shipp: Seraphic Light (Live At Tufts University) (Aum Fidelity)

A long-form 3-part work of collective improvisation from 3 masterful New York free jazz legends--Daniel Carter on flute, trumpet, clarinet, and saxophones, William Parker on bass, and Matthew Shipp on piano--performing live at Tufts University in 2017 in a beautifully thoughtful and lyrical concert presented after a screening of the '59 film "The Cry of Jazz".

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product information:

UPC: 642623310625

Label: Aum Fidelity
Catalog ID: AUM 106CD
Squidco Product Code: 25810

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2018
Country: USA
Packaging: Digipack - 3 panel
Recorded at Tufts University, in Medford, Massachusetts, on April 5th, 2017.


Daniel Carter-flute, trumpet, clarinet, tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, alto saxophone

William Parker-bass

Matthew Shipp-piano

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Artist Biographies:

"Daniel Carter (born December 28, 1945, in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania) is an American experimental saxophone, flute, clarinet, and trumpet player active mainly in New York City since the early 1970s.

Carter is a prolific performer and has recorded or performed with William Parker, Federico Ughi, DJ Logic, Thurston Moore, Yo La Tengo, Sun Ra, Cecil Taylor, Sonic Youth, scientist/musician Matthew Putman, Cooper-Moore, Sam Rivers, David S. Ware, Yoko Ono, Living Colour, Medensky Martin and Wood and Jaco Pastorius among others. He is a member of the cooperative free jazz groups TEST and Other Dimensions In Music."

-577 Records (

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"William Parker is a bassist, improviser, composer, writer, and educator from New York City, heralded by The Village Voice as, "the most consistently brilliant free jazz bassist of all time."

In addition to recording over 150 albums, he has published six books and taught and mentored hundreds of young musicians and artists.

Parker's current bands include the Little Huey Creative Music Orchestra, In Order to Survive, Raining on the Moon, Stan's Hat Flapping in the Wind, and the Cosmic Mountain Quartet with Hamid Drake, Kidd Jordan, and Cooper-Moore. Throughout his career he has performed with Cecil Taylor, Don Cherry, Milford Graves, and David S. Ware, among others."

-William Parker Website (

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Matthew Shipp was born December 7, 1960 in Wilmington, Delaware. He started piano at 5 years old with the regular piano lessons most kids have experienced. He fell in love with jazz at 12 years old. After moving to New York in 1984 he quickly became one of the leading lights in the New York jazz scene. He was a sideman in the David S. Ware quartet and also for Roscoe Mitchell's Note Factory before making the decision to concentrate on his own music.

Mr Shipp has reached the holy grail of jazz in that he possesses a unique style on his instrument that is all of his own- and he's one of the few in jazz that can say so. Mr. Shipp has recorded a lot of albums with many labels but his 2 most enduring relationships have been with two labels. In the 1990s he recorded a number of chamber jazz cds with Hatology, a group of cds that charted a new course for jazz that, to this day, the jazz world has not realized. In the 2000s Mr Shipp has been curator and director of the label Thirsty Ear's "Blue Series" and has also recorded for them. In this collection of recordings he has generated a whole body of work that is visionary, far reaching and many faceted."

-Matthew Shipp Website (

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track listing:

1. Part 1 21:27

2. Part 2 20:54

3. Part 3 13:06
sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"Seraphic Light is an exemplary long-form work of collective creative improvisation, performed by three masters of this high art. It was recorded live in the performance hall of Tufts University (Boston) in April 2017. These three men each possess a complete and total devotion to the music. On this very rare trio meeting they manifest a meditative resonance, replete with lyrical and poetic exploration, throughout a sublime set.

This concert was the culmination of an event entitled "Art, Race, and Politics in America." First was a screening of the 1959 documentary film, The Cry of Jazz . The film asserts "jazz is the Negro's cry of joy and suffering" and "the Negro is [white America's] conscience...if they have a conscience." These bold and timely ideas pushed forward the second portion of the program, a discussion / QandA with Carter, Parker, and Shipp. For 45 free-flowing minutes, these three men spoke truths, told stories, floated ideas, countered assertions, listened to questions, gave advice, told jokes, and laughed together. Having already established an honest and direct bond with the audience, they then seamlessly shifted their discussion to the musical dialogue presented here."-Aum Fidelity

"Brilliant. Majestic. Grand. Beautiful. The words that critics are taught to shun. Why? Because they're suggestive, personal, without content. So be it. This album is brilliant, majestic, grand and beautiful. It is a performance by some of the leading voices of free jazz. We all know Daniel Carter, William Parker and Matthew Shipp. They need no introduction. Yet here, somehow, despite their huge catalogue of great music, they still kind of surpass themselves.

Daniel Carter is underrated. His lyricism and versatility on flute, sax and trumpet have been lauded before on this blog, yet somehow he takes it a step further here, with deep and warm tones, soaring solos, with shimmering and sensitive vibratoes. His sound also resonates in the space of the concert hall, with the piano and the bass more present at the front, creating an eery and floating atmosphere. His core instrument is the sax, but his more sparse use of flute and trumpet are equally stunning, not by the technical skill, but by the tone and space they use.

Shipp moves magesterially from the basic bluesy roots to the most complex avant-garde explorations within the same movement, rhythmic, lyrical and expressive. He knows when to pause, when to let the others take the front stage, when to create these wonderful harmonics for Daniel Carter to solo on. Shipp enjoys it. You can hear it with every note he plays, and especially in the bluesy second track, enjoying both the heritage, the sound and the possibilities for playful diversions into newer possibilities.

And Parker is always good. Rock solid in his rhythms, eloquent when bowing, a wonderful listener and team player. Mostly plucking his bass, his role is less prominent, yet robust, keeping the sound of Carter and Shipp together, making it even more cohesive.

And what they do is exceptional. It somehow all fits together, as if it's a well-studied suite, as one collective improvisation or even composition without soloing in the traditional sense, of shifting themes within the same concept, of changing moods within a single musical vision, of changing jazz genres within the same improvisation. This is music that mourns, weeps, sings, dances and jubilates at the same time. The first two tracks are separated on the album, yet in reality they form one single improvisation. In some improvisations and live performances, there are always moments when you sense that the musicians are trying to find a common ground, when there are slight hesitations about which way to go, but not here: all three musicians improvise as if they know the music by heart, as if it's always been there, agreed upon, rehearsed, and they don't need to invest their energy in how to move next, no, the entire weight of their effort relies on how to deliver, how to make it sound more sensitive, more powerful, more beautiful.

Apart from the fact that they know each other so well, and have performed together for over thirty years in a multitude of ensembles, one additional reason for this concert's success may be its sequence in a full evening at Tuft's University a year ago. The evening was organised by visual artist Kurt Ralske, also improvising musician and professor of digital media, film and sound at the University, on the topic of "Art, Race, and Politics in America", featuring a film screening, a discussion with the musicians, and a concert, with participation from students and faculty from various parts of the university.

As the liner note mention: "Thus on the evening of April 5, 2017, the audience attending Tuft's concert hall enjoyed an unusual three-part hybrid-format program. First we watched the 1959 documentary film, The Cry of Jazz, written and directed by Edward O. Bland, with the participation of Sun Ra. The film asserts "jazz is the Negro's cry of joy and suffering" and "the Negro is [white America's] conscience...if they have a conscience." These bold and timely ideas pushed forward the second portion of the program, a discussion / Q&A with Daniel Carter, William Parker, and Matthew Shipp. For 45 free-flowing minutes, the men spoke truths, told stories, floated ideas, countered assertions, listened to questions, gave advice, told jokes, and laughed together." Then they started making music.

May this be the reason? A very long evening, talking of deep historical and family trauma and discussing deep sentiments, creating a bond with the audience, interacting with them before taking the stage with the respective instruments? To demonstrate what music is all about? To demonstrate without words what deep sentiments are all about? To demonstrate what true art is? To demonstrate what life is all about?

This one is already now one of the best albums of the year, if not one of the best free jazz albums ever.

Brilliant. Majestic. Grand. Beautiful."-Stef, The Free Jazz Collective

Get additional information at The Free Jazz Collective
Related Categories of Interest:

Aum Fidelity

Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
Melodic and Lyrical Jazz
NY Downtown & Metropolitan Jazz/Improv
Parker, William
New in Improvised Music
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