I'm always looking to introduce new people to The All About Jazz readership. Yuko Otomo provided an appreciation of Matthew Shipp from her perspective as a poet and visual artist. Let Ms. Otomo take it from here. Recently, I re-read Concerning the Spiritual in Art by Wassily Kandinsky. I don't remember how many times I've read this book. There are a few Bible-like books and writings (on art) that I return to whenever I have a need to re-check my own viewpoint. I read these books in order to regain my sanity in the midst of ...read more
One trio. One guest. A single, forty-two minute, freely improvised piece. That's what you basically have here, but such a bare description doesn't do it justice. The Core Trio--a group that has yet to actually record as a stand-alone trio--has an interesting history that seems to always revolve around personnel twists. The group came to exist as a three-piece when the members of an avant-garde quartet called Rosta decided to disband, but that was just the first of several changes. The Core Trio's first recording brought the core membership--saxophonist Seth Paynter, drummer Richard Cholakian and bassist/leader Thomas ...read more
These two guest appearances demonstrate that pianist Matthew Shipp has become an elder statesman in the jazz world. How that happened can be boiled down to two simple elements. One: he has created a unique sound and language for improvised music and two: Shipp has become a doyen of cutting edge music making and opinion. Perhaps all of this could be foretold from his early apprenticeship in David S. Ware and Roscoe Mitchell's bands, and his collaborations with the likes of William Parker, Joe Morris, and Mat Maneri. He has also explored classical music, hip-hop, and electronica as ...read more
"Playing music is like doing heart surgery," bassist William Parker told interviewer Radhika Philiip in Being Here: Conversations on Creating Music (Radio.org, 2013). Every time you hit a note, someone's life is on the line, and so you can't fool around." Serious intent and intense focus are the cornerstones of these playful dialogues between Parker, drummer Jeff Cosgrove and pianist Matthew Shipp. A similar approach is also recommended in approaching this music--background noise it ain't. Drummer Andrew Cyrille--to whom the title track is dedicated--is the link between the three musicians, having taught Cosgrove and collaborated with both Shipp ...read more
The third album by pianist Matthew Shipp's trio with bassist Michael Bisio and drummer Whit Dickey persuades as their strongest yet, no mean feat after the live disc included on The Art Of The Improviser (Thirsty Ear, 2011) and Elastic Aspects (Thirsty Ear, 2012). Over the six cuts from this 2013 studio session they restate their case to be considered one of the premier contemporary piano threesomes, supremely cohesive and thoroughly convincing in Shipp's unique idiom combining insistent themes, darkly thunderous voicings and crystalline romantic lyricism. In Bisio, whose resume boasts stints alongside multi-instrumentalist Joe McPhee and saxophone ...read more
Root of Things is the third recording by pianist Matthew Shipp's working trio with bassist Michael Bisio and drummer Whit Dickey, following Elastic Aspects (Thirsty Ear, 2012) and the group's live debut The Art Of The Improviser (Thirsty Ear, 2011). Over the past three decades, Shipp has demonstrated the reach of his artistry in myriad ways, including genre-defying electro-acoustic experiments. In recent years however, Shipp has narrowed his focus, concentrating on acoustic efforts largely based in intimate solo, duo and trio settings.Shipp's veteran sidemen are equally experienced; Dickey has been Shipp's primary drummer since the early 1990s, working ...read more
A mathematical equation can chart and explain everything in life, from the arc of a thrown baseball to the dynamical systems of chaos. The scientific study of deterministic chaos is a bit of an oxymoron, in that the mathematicians suggest everything can be graphed and explained by calculations. The theory being, the deeper you delve into any system, the clearer and more uncomplicated it becomes. The same can be said for the music of pianist Matthew Shipp. Like the music of Thelonious Monk before him, what once sounded complicated and indecipherable reveals itself through immersion into its depths. ...read more
Few barriers remain in jazz. Certainly not geographical or generational. Even genre does not present insurmountable obstacles. Were it needed, further confirmation arrives in the shape of a meeting between two distinctive stylists: American pianist Matthew Shipp and English saxophone iconoclast Evan Parker. Far from being their first encounter, the pair know each other well, having waxed Abbey Road Duos (Treader, 2007), collaborated during the saxophonist's October 2010 residency at the Stone in New York City, and appeared in duet at the 2011 Vision Festival. What's more piano/saxophone duets form a significant strand in the Shipp's discography (Rob Brown, Roscoe ...read more
With a half a dozen releases in both 2012 and 2013, one might fear that tenor saxophonist Ivo Perelman may begin to repeat himself. To put it succinctly--not a chance. Enigma features players very familiar to the saxophonist, yet in a completely new lineup. Invited here is pianist Matthew Shipp, Perelman's alter ego and two drummers, Whit Dickey and Gerald Cleaver. Both drummers have wielded sticks for Perelman and Shipp. Dickey is heard on the quartet session The Edge (Leo, 2013) and trio The Clairvoyant, and Cleaver with the quartets Serendipity (Leo, 2013) and The Hour Of The ...read more
Wikipedia tells us that in ancient Indian literature, the term sutra denotes a distinct type of literary composition, based on short aphoristic statements. Similarly concise motifs lie at the heart of many of the selections on Matthew Shipp's eighth solo album Piano Sutras. It's a measure of the American's place in the pianistic pantheon that he still has something worthwhile to say after some 25 years on the scene. Of all his outings, Piano Sutras most resembles Un Piano (Rogue Art, 2008) in that it comes across as a series of spontaneous improvisations, eschewing the more overtly scripted numbers present ...read more
There is a sort of primitivism that can be found at the edges of advanced physics and mathematics. The same sort of primitivism is at the heart of pianist Matthew Shipp's music. Just as one can speak of the sweet science (or art) of boxing, the pianist plays with a violent beauty.Piano Sutras is his seventh solo recording following the Thirsty Ear discs 4D (2010) and One (2006) and Un Piano (Rogue Art, 2008), Songs (Splasc(h), 2002), Creation Out Of Nothing (SoLyd, 2010), and Before The Worlds (FMR, 1995).Each of his prior outings act as the ...read more
Currently in the midst of an unprecedented mid-career renaissance, wildly prolific tenor saxophonist Ivo Perelman has been recording for Leo Records at a frantic pace, typically issuing several new albums at a time. Released concurrently with The Edge and The Art of the Duet, Volume One is Serendipity, a title that bears out its namesake. Taped in the winter of 2011 during what was originally intended to be the session for The Foreign Legion, a bass-less trio date with Perelman's regular collaborators pianist Matthew Shipp and drummer Gerald Cleaver, this unplanned quartet effort with legendary bassist William Parker is a ...read more
Saxophonist Ivo Perelman's association with Pianist Matthew Shipp's trio is completed with The Edge. He has recorded in varying combinations with the players: a duo with Shipp--The Art Of The Duet, Vol. 1 (Leo Records, 2013), a trio with Ship and bassist Michael Bisio--The Gift (Leo Records, 2012) and a duo with Shipp and drummer Whit Dickey--The Clairvoyant (Leo Records, 2012). Here the saxophonist and Shipp's trio perfect a recording, not as trio plus guest, nor Perelman backed by a trio, but as an accomplished quartet.These nine improvisations are easily mistaken for composed music. The four players gel ...read more
"Greatest Hits" compilations are not releases normally associated with jazz musicians, and especially not with pianist as decidedly avant-garde as Matthew Shipp.Shipp explains that My impetus for creating this CD was that I have a vast catalogue which I don't think the jazz world has started to absorb yet. I selected the tunes by which ones stood out in reviews of my CDs, which tunes had received the most airplay, or compositions I had received the most feedback on from friends and fans alike."As such, it is an introduction--and an able one, a window into Shipp's ...read more
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