Alto saxophonist Darius Jones has been on the New York scene for a few years now, and is best known in the context of his own trio and with the jazz-rock quartet Little Women. Pianist Matthew Shipp needs little to no introduction here. Together, this pair creates one of the most atypical dates on the Aum Fidelity imprint. Conceived as a 13-song cycle, the short pieces on Cosmic Lieder appear seamless; it would be difficult to pry any one piece away from the whole, though they are indeed separate "songs." The playing is somewhat restrained but deeply emotional.
Darius Jones and Matthew Shipp gave themselves a hard task in making an entire album of just sax and piano, performing all new originals. Cosmic Lieder can accurately be called uneasy listening. You have to be pretty versatile with your instrument if you want to make a duet album like this interesting. The more versatile one’s skills are, the more challenging the music can become.
The piano-and-sax duo musters an unforced alchemy on this fine collaboration. Kevin Le Gendre 2011 Many saxophone-piano duets inevitably invite comparison with singer-piano collaborations insofar as the keyboard serves as a harmonic bed for the reed or voice. The piano underpins the horn’s melodic line with chords and occasionally breaks out with a solo.