Matthew Shipp: Shipp Shape
All in all, it is a trying time hoeing a dolorous row. Much turns on waiting for bloated showbiz jazz to finish failing. The bloat fest circuit is running out of rock fossils to prop up the annual summer rounds of increasingly expensive and anachronistic monstrosities that no longer excite public imagination.
The basis for circulating recordings with a workable business model awaits some transformation of capacity and capability as yet unimagined. Shipp attempts to be proactive about strivings towards an honest restoration, and lends his time to ASCAP, where the outlines of any improvements are likely to rise first.
Jim Steinblatt graciously took time to describe Shipp's long and productive working relationship with the organization, which has included such honors as a working dinner session with Representative John Conyers, to raise awareness about artist rights.
"Matt Shipp is a titanically talented composer, pianist and bandleader," says Steinblatt. "I have been personally acquainted with him for at least 16 years, when the ASCAP switchboard operator transferred him to me in error. We spoke for a while and he sent me a copy of his Circular Temple (Infinite Zero, 1995) album, which opened up a whole new world of music for me.
"Since that time, Matt has become a very active member of ASCAP, which he first joined in 1992. He has performed in The ASCAP Foundation's genre-busting Through the Walls new music series at New York's Cutting Room. He was the first recipient of The ASCAP Foundation Jazz Vanguard Award, for his innovative approach to music. He has also been very generous to ASCAP with his time and energy. Matt has served, with distinction, for over a decade as a panelist on the ASCAP Deems Taylor Awards Competition, which honors the best writing on music."
"He has also been of great help representing the jazz music community to members of Congress, meeting frequently with key legislators. Several years ago, Matt represented ASCAP at the Future of Music Conference in Washington, DC, where he showed himself to be a steadfast supporter of music creators' rights at an event where anti-copyright sentiment was rampant."
"Matthew Shipp is a valuable ASCAP member," concludes Steinblatt, "and someone who understands very well that service to the music community serves his own interests, as well."
All-in-all, we have the outlines of tireless life's work amid diminishing returns. The coming near-term years should see it sort out, as the world blindly fumbles its way toward working transformations. Economies will find their equilibrium, prices and costs in these transformed terms will be discovered and effort will once more find productive channels.