SPB: You and Bobby Kapp come from two different eras of the NY free jazz scene. What did you discover in your recording sessions, about either the past and the present of the scene?
Shipp: The great thing about music is that, even though we are all a specific product of the time and environment we come out of, occasionally there can be some type of slight transcendence of them. Kapp was around in the early wave of the jazz avant garde, in fact was on some early esp records—I have come along in a third or fourth generation of the music. [even though I do not consider myself avant grade]—
First, I think it helped that Kapp was off the scene for years [he has been living in Mexico]—also I think it helped that he has been involved with straight ahead jazz projects and afro cuban projects these last years. That is important because that tends to make what we do less self-conscious avant garde and we tend to just honestly search our musical vocabularies for what works musically. The whole breath and concept of phrasing that exists in the music today is a different thing then when they where first discovering what they thought felt like freedom in the ‘60s—[I have no idea what freedom is myself]. I think in our case we were both open enough to see what the other had to offer[ no matter what era we came from]—and we both have the flexibility in our approach to make something out of what emerged.
Kapp is also really hungry to make music and to have some fun. The degree to which he is hungry to do this really helps and there was no attitude like I played with Marion Brown and Gato Barbieri or anything like that coming from him. He was really open to the experience and to dealing with whatever it was I had to offer. All these little things add up and make a difference in the end, to make what we do a gestalt in and of its own that is more than some avant garde cat from the early ‘70s and some avant garde cat from the 21 Century just getting together. The degree to which this did work might not be possible with some other figures from the early wave of the music—this might be an anomaly.