“I get into music not just by playing but by accessing a vibration,” says Whit Dickey, a stalwart of New York’s improvised music scene whose brand new work directing yet another formidable quartet, Root Perspectives, gets to the heart of what he means by that. It’s the latest recording from his label TAO Forms, which since its 2020 founding has released a steady stream of outstanding album works, including James Brandon Lewis’ poll-winning, Jesup Wagon, and Dickey’s own highly inspired Expanding Light & Astral Long Form: Staircase in Space. Root Perspectives was recorded in May, on the day after releasing Astral Long Form.
“I conceived this album off of a vibration that I felt some 15 years ago, while obsessively listening to the title composition of John Coltrane’s Crescent,” he recalls. “It began to have mathematical meaning to me.” The sound and energy of a tenor-based quartet was a logical choice, and this presents the first encounter between Dickey and master saxophonist Tony Malaby, along with one of Dickey’s closest associates, Matthew Shipp, and the youngest of the group, agile and inventive bassist Brandon Lopez.