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The 2nd LP from Polish multi-wind & reedist Mat Walerian, his 2nd with NY pianist Matthew Shipp, and the 2nd recorded within the live Okuden Concert Series, adding drummer Hamid Drake for an excellent album of free improvisation that flows beautifully from track to track.

Jungle: Mat Walerian / Matthew Shipp / Hamid Drake
Live at Okuden [2 CDs]

Jungle: Mat Walerian / Matthew Shipp / Hamid Drake: Live at Okuden [2 CDs] (ESP)

Label: ESP    
Released in: USA    

"The second LP from Polish reedman and flautist Mat Walerian is also the second with pianist Matthew Shipp, the second with ESP-Disk Records and the second recorded within the live Okuden Concert Series. But the primary distinction of this second 'Live at Okuden' album is the addition of Hamid Drake. Jungle expands the off-the-cuff musical conference to an elite drummer of improvised music.

Many songs literally run into other so that it flows as if it's just a few extended pieces instead of thirteen listed, but innately invoked moods that evolve and sometimes abruptly pivot command interest through one hundred minutes of music. Probably Walerian's greatest attribute is allowing the notes and the phraseology come to him, sizing up each moment and jumping in when the water is just right.

He wrote a pretty melody for "Perfect Joint" that he leaves exposed with Shipp's sensitive piano, injecting his sax only where it will complete the emotion that's meant to be rendered. He tactfully straddles the line between and dissonance on a convulsive reading of the traditional tune "One For," and Drake, ever the close listener, is matching him blow for blow.

Walerian the saxophonist allows a slightly different personality to shine through on flute: on "Shrine," he's soothing as he is calculating and contemplative, allowing Shipp to build a shape from nothing, completing the mold by the time "Shrine" becomes "Teleport." Walerian adjusts to its stepped-up tension accordingly with a switch to clarinet, drawing out notes as Shipp and Drake oscillate underneath. Walerian goes it (nearly) alone on bass clarinet for the intro of "Good Trip Is A Safe Trip," never failing to swing during his inside/outside soliloquy.

Devising dramatic, sharply definable figures such as the one the makes up "123 Sylvester 230CE," Walerian reaches back into tradition with his avant sensibilities intact while Drake forages around on his trap kit devising rhythmic schemes like a mad scientist. Drake's fire and extraordinary percussive attack come to fore for much of the Shipp/Drake improv "Ultimate Insurance."

The trio's most ad hoc performance might be the eighteen minute "Coach On Da Mic," featuring Shipp constantly creating on the fly by himself for the first quarter of the song before the other two ease themselves in. Eventually, Walerian asserts control via a bass clarinet, emitting a series of sweetly soulful notes until Shipp tugs the sentiment into a tumultuous direction, eventually succeeding in leading the group into a series of tension building and release. The floor is then left to Drake, who solos on top of a jungle groove that evokes Africa, the Caribbean and America all in one.

This is also the second album where bassist extraordinaire William Parker has written the liner notes. Within that commentary, Parker notes that a "master musician is not a musician who knows every thing about music, like preordained harmonies, rhythms, or melodies." Rather, "the informed musician knows enough to let music be music on its own terms." It's something that Mat Walerian seems to understand instinctively on Jungle, even as he still manages to show he knows much about the tenants of music and in the presence of more established masters."-S. Victor Aaron, Something Else Review

"Stepping into the Silence, this is literary music, epic little bouts of brilliance. That expands and stretches across what you might call instant reality, the lining or other side of the cosmic blanket where ordinary yet extraordinary people live; it swings and is balanced, it knows where to stop and begin again. It Bees and it Bops, it is and isn't at the same time, but the main thing is they don't scream -- not that the scream and the shout are bad. It's that you have to play inside your destiny rather than a musical style. It's all about playing free instead of asking others for freedom, so I celebrate Drake, Shipp, and Walerian for choosing life over music. Choosing intuition over tradition."- William Parker's liner notes

"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 (

"Hamid Drake (born August 3, 1955) is an American jazz drummer and percussionist. He lives in Chicago, IL but spends a great deal of time touring worldwide. By the close of the 1990s, Hamid Drake was widely regarded as one of the best percussionists in jazz and avant improvised music. Incorporating Afro-Cuban, Indian, and African percussion instruments and influence, in addition to using the standard trap set, Drake has collaborated extensively with top free-jazz improvisers. Drake also has performed world music; by the late 70s, he was a member of Foday Musa Suso's Mandingo Griot Society and has played reggae throughout his career.

Drake has worked with trumpeter Don Cherry, pianist Herbie Hancock, saxophonists Pharoah Sanders, Fred Anderson, Archie Shepp and David Murray and bassists Reggie Workman and William Parker (in a large number of lineups)

He studied drums extensively, including eastern and Caribbean styles. He frequently plays without sticks; using his hands to develop subtle commanding undertones. His tabla playing is notable for his subtlety and flair. Drake's questing nature and his interest in Caribbean percussion led to a deep involvement with reggae."

-Wikipedia (

Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
NY Downtown & Jazz/Improv
Trio Recordings
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New in Improvised Music
Recent Releases and Best Sellers

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Price: $14.95
In Stock


Shipping Weight: 4.00 units

Quantity in Basket: None

Product Information:

UPC: 825481500920

Label: ESP
Catalog ID: ESPDISK 5009CD
Squidco Product Code: 21891

Format: 2 CDs
Condition: New
Released: 2016
Country: USA
Packaging: Digipack - 3 panel
Recorded at Okuden Music Concert Series on November 19th, 2012, by Paulina Swigon.


Mat Walerian-alto saxophone, bass clarinet, clarinet, flute

Matthew Shipp-piano

Hamid Drake-drums, percussion

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Track Listing:


1. Shrine 3:58

2. Teleport 5:37

3. Gentle Giants 8:10

4. 123 Sylvester 230ce 4:56

5. Ultimate Insurance 8:03

6. Good Trip Is A Safe Trip 6:19

7. Perfect Joint 8:30

8. Watch Your Path 5:37


1. Gate 9:45

2. One For 11:12

3. Coach On Da Mic 18:25

4. Tiger 4:19

5. Sit Back, Relax And Watch 4:57

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