All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 (or more) and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.


I want to help

375

Matthew Shipp: 4D

John Sharpe By
Published:
Sign in to view read count
Matthew Shipp: 4D Matthew Shipp has become one of the most distinctive piano stylists operating in the free jazz continuum, recognizable after just a few notes. 4D, his sixth solo piano disc mirrors the format of its illustrious predecessor Harmonic Disorder (Thirsty Ear, 2009) though with pared back instrumentation. Altogether there are 16 cuts reflecting a wide range of approaches during a program just shy of an hour. One consequence of so many short tracks, with 10 clocking in at less than 4 minutes, is that each one represents an intense distillation of the pianist's ideas.

As on Harmonic Disorder, but unlike his last two solo discs, Shipp features standards and popular songs alongside his own compositions, with some recognizable straight away but others treated so obliquely as to be unrecognizable. This allows insight to how he tackles the less well known contours of his own pieces where, unencumbered by bass and drums, Shipp takes such a free approach that it is hard to be sure whether they are extemporized or preconceived.

Although the original material won't cause an outbreak of foot-tapping, that's not the intention. There are different, more bracing pleasures to be savored. "The Crack In The Piano's Egg" is a case in point: as light refracted through a prism separates into its constituent wavelengths, so fragments of angular melody and bursts of lurching headlong rhythm, subjected to Shipp's elastic use of time, stand next to but apart from one another. "Blue Web In Space" sounds like a distant cousin of Shipp favorite "Key Swing" in its rhythmic architecture, though not in the dissonance amid the occasional blue tinged notes and ringing repetitions, while "Sequence And Vibration" often suggests it might resolve into some other Shipp compositions, but never does. At times Shipp's tactics recall other pianists: there is a touch of Sun Ra about the pealing harmonic progression of "Stairs" contrasted with quieter abstract musings, while "Primal Harmonic" has echoes of mid '70s Keith Jarrett in its low key ruminations.

Of the covers, "What Is This Thing Called Love?" is occasionally just glimpsed dashing for cover between dense stands of rhythmic crashing, while "Prelude To A Kiss" masquerades under heavy disguise. "Autumn Leaves" hews closer to the tune before an emphatic chordal mugging and a finale of stabbing Morse code supplements the accustomed cadences. "Frere Jacques" (sounding more like "Lord Of The Dance" to my ears) mutates into clanging prancing variations as if played on underwater bells, while in the closing "Greensleeves" Shipp alternates the (over)familiar theme with passages where the skies darken and thunderclouds drench this particular parade: a powerful meditation on how order descends into chaos to finish this austere but gripping disc.


Track Listing: 4D; The Crack In The Piano's Egg; Equilibrium; Teleportation; Dark Matter; Stairs; Jazz Paradox; Blue Web In Space; What Is This Thing Called Love?; Autumn Leaves; Sequence And Vibration; Frere Jacques; Prelude To A Kiss; What A Friend We Have In Jesus; Primal Harmonic; Greensleeves.

Personnel: Matthew Shipp: piano.

Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Thirsty Ear Recordings | Style: Free Improv/Avant-Garde


Related Video

Shop For Jazz

  • Thesis
    Thesis
    Matthew Shipp
    Duos With Mat Maneri & Joe...
  • 4D
    4D
    Matthew Shipp
    4D
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Live in Seattle
Live in Seattle
Origin Records
2016
buy
Our Lady Of The Flowers
Our Lady Of The...
Rogueart Records
2015
buy
I've Been To Many Places
I've Been To Many...
Thirsty Ear Recordings
2015
buy
The Conduct of Jazz
The Conduct of Jazz
Thirsty Ear Recordings
2015
buy
To Duke
To Duke
Rogue Art
2015
buy
I've Been To Many Places
I've Been To Many...
Thirsty Ear Recordings
2014
buy
Pat Metheny Pat Metheny
guitar
Eric Dolphy Eric Dolphy
reeds
Ornette Coleman Ornette Coleman
sax, alto
Dave Douglas Dave Douglas
trumpet
Cecil Taylor Cecil Taylor
piano
William Parker William Parker
bass, acoustic
Vijay Iyer Vijay Iyer
piano
Andrew Hill Andrew Hill
piano
Marc Ribot Marc Ribot
guitar

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.