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 & total devotion to the music. On this very rare trio meeting they manifest a meditative resonance, replete with lyrical & 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 / Q&A 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.
While William Parker and Matthew Shipp are each deservedly world-renowned as players–improvisers–composers due to their extensive recording and performance work as leaders, the exceptionally gifted Daniel Carter remains an underground figure on the world stage; even relatively so within New York City where he has been ceaselessly active since the mid 70s. He is a masterful player of deep lyricism and passion; in possession of gorgeous tone across a full range of wind instruments: each of the three principal saxophones, trumpet, flute and clarinet. Seraphic Light showcases him on all of these.
Carter has long subsumed his voluminous gifts to the service of the project or performance at hand; tellingly, every group of which he has been a member has been a collective. He first came to AUM Fidelity label head Steven Joerg’s attention as a part of the seminal group Other Dimensions In Music (w/ Parker, Rashid Bakr, and the late Roy Campbell, deeply missed). Among the greatest fully-improvising bands in jazz history, ODIM were a most welcome & heralded presence on NYC stages throughout the 90s and into the 2000s. One of AUM’s first signings, their album, Now! aumfidelity.bandcamp.com/album/now , was made in 1997, the label’s heady year of birth.
As Daniel Carter has recently entered his 7th decade, having spent well over 50 years being fully devoted to the music, it is hoped that this brand new recording – in the company of well-esteemed peers – will go some measure to increase recognition of the gifts he has long offered.
1. Seraphic Light part I 21:27
2. Seraphic Light part II 20:53
3. Seraphic Light part III 13:06
Daniel Carter: flute, trumpet, tenor, alto & soprano saxophones, clarinet
William Parker: bass
Matthew Shipp: piano