High Water

Lead Performer: El-P; Producer (group): Thirsty Ear

You might expect a free-jazz album presided over by underground hip-hop’s high priest of noise, El-P, to be a roiling, assaultive affair, the second coming of Coltrane’s ”Ascension.” Surprise. ”High Water” is largely a quiet, meditative effort, with well-respected musicians like pianist Matthew Shipp and trumpeter Roy Campbell improvising on themes later reshaped by El-P. What his fans will make of it is anyone’s guess, but jazzbos in search of esoteric kicks may want to cock an ear to this.

Originally posted March 5 2004 — 12:00 AM EST

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