Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

212

Matthew Shipp: Equilibrium

Kurt Gottschalk By

Sign in to view read count
Matthew Shipp has done a praiseworthy thing with an odd outcome in his Blue Series for the Thirsty Ear record label. Shipp has overseen the creation of an important and identifiable sound, a label in the classic sense of old Blue Note and Impulse! records which appealed to the listener by offering a dependable product with a recognizable sound and style. Here, the style (on some of the best releases) is a hybridization of improv and electronica that remains purely jazz - not acid jazz or DJ trickery, but organic jazz groups that incorporate electronicists and turntablists as part of a combo. The two remarkable Spring Heel Jack releases and projects from Tim Berne, DJ Spooky and Guillermo Brown have defined something truly new.

The odd part of it is that Shipp's first flirtation with electronics paled compared to some of the other releases in the series, even though he plays as a sideman on several of them. Last year's Nu Bop - featuring Brown, William Parker and Daniel Carter, with FLAM doing synthesizer and programming duties - was a perplexing record: not bad, but dominated by loud and sometimes mundane beats. While it was an interesting opportunity to hear the rest of the band (especially bassist Parker) react to the grooves, the outcome had nothing of the depth of Spring Heel Jack's meetings with the same acoustic players.

Shipp has reunited with FLAM (this time using a group comprised of Parker, drummer Gerald Cleaver and Khan Jamal on vibes) for a second installment of his own take on the Blue Series eclectic electronics, and with far better results. FLAM's sometimes plodding percussion still makes him a disappointing choice, but this time the record is built more purely around rhythm, with no horn player present, and the electronics have been toned down in the mix, making the ensemble feel more like a group than Nu Bop 's obstacle course.

The quintet for the most part sits squarely in pulse, but this time around the beat-oriented tracks brim with energy and are actually exciting. (FLAM does sit out at the quieter moments, allowing less fixed, more slowly swinging themes to emerge.) The album informs what Nu Bop was attempting, doing so with greater success.

Without a moment to breathe, Shipp's next effort is set to be released this month - a meeting with the NYC rap collective Antipop Consortium. If he's out to upset jazz purists, he's no doubt on the right track. But the results are looking more promising... and purists deserve to be upset anyway.


Track Listing: Equilibrium; Vamp To Vibe; Nebula Theory; Cohesion; World Of Blue Glass; Portal; The Root; The Key; Nu Matrix.

Personnel: Mathew Shipp

Title: Equilibrium | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Thirsty Ear Recordings


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Baby It's Cold Outside CD/LP/Track Review Baby It's Cold Outside
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 13, 2017
Read Wrong Turns And Dead Ends CD/LP/Track Review Wrong Turns And Dead Ends
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 13, 2017
Read Lavaman CD/LP/Track Review Lavaman
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 13, 2017
Read Paimon: Book of Angels Volume 32 CD/LP/Track Review Paimon: Book of Angels Volume 32
by Don Phipps
Published: December 13, 2017
Read Bad Hombre CD/LP/Track Review Bad Hombre
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 12, 2017
Read Aladdin's Dream CD/LP/Track Review Aladdin's Dream
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 12, 2017
Read "Insufficient Funs" CD/LP/Track Review Insufficient Funs
by Ian Patterson
Published: January 12, 2017
Read "Alom Mola" CD/LP/Track Review Alom Mola
by John Eyles
Published: May 10, 2017
Read "Ellipse" CD/LP/Track Review Ellipse
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 4, 2017
Read "Do Not Go Gently" CD/LP/Track Review Do Not Go Gently
by Ian Patterson
Published: July 19, 2017
Read "Lucille" CD/LP/Track Review Lucille
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 8, 2017
Read "Organ Monk, The Breathe Suite" CD/LP/Track Review Organ Monk, The Breathe Suite
by Jerome Wilson
Published: June 10, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!