3

Matthew Shipp: Greatest Hits

John Sharpe By

Sign in to view read count
Matthew Shipp: Greatest Hits It takes more than a degree of chutzpah for any modern day jazzer to title a collection Greatest Hits, let alone a doyen of the avant-garde. But pianist Matthew Shipp has never shied away from controversy—indeed, on occasion has actively courted it. Slightly apologetically, sleeve note annotator Tad Hendrickson points out that the selections were those singled out in reviews, played on radio, or which provoked a notable response when performed live. So what's on offer here is a dozen cuts chosen from Shipp's albums on the Thirsty Ear label spanning a 12-year period since 2000.

Loosely in chronological order, the set charts two trends. The first being the introduction and then stripping away of overt hip-hop influence, synthesizers and post-production tweaking found on cuts such as "Cohesion," New ID," and "Nu-Bop," to leave a more abstract acoustic vernacular. At the same, time there is a retrenchment in lineup, so that the quartets and quintets give way from 2005 to piano trios and solos without horns—the classic jazz formats in which the keyboard assumes the greatest prominence. While it's inadvisable to read too much into this—Shipp has continued to record with reeds on other labels, witness SaMa (Not Two, 2010) with Sabir Mateen, and Cosmic Lieder (Aum Fidelity, 2011) with Darius Jones, to name just two—unsurprisingly, the current approach is favored, with the only album that provides more than a single cut being 2012's enigmatic but compelling Elastic Aspects, though even here Shipp shares the limelight, especially with monster bassist Michael Bisio.

Irrespective of setting, the pianist demonstrates a unique sensibility in which brawny insistent rhythms jostle with sudden diversions off the page, only to make way for sparkling crystalline melodies. One of his most attractive recordings, the singular New Orbit (2001), is represented by the lyrical title track, featuring Wadada Leo Smith's blues-infused trumpet. Other standouts include the motif-driven invention of "GNG" (from Harmonic Disorder, (2009)), the infectious dance of "Cohesion" (from Equilibrium, (2003)) and the prancing "Key Swing" (from Piano Vortex, (2007)). But while the shrewd programming means that the album works as an outstanding sequence of music if consumed in a single sitting, it acts even more powerfully as a prompt to go and search out some of the source discs to enjoy fuller servings of particularly appealing flavors.

Track Listing: Gesture; New Orbit; Cohesion; Module; GNG; New ID; 4D; Stage 10; Nu-Bop; Key Swing; Elastic Aspects; Circular Temple #1.

Personnel: Matthew Shipp: piano, synthesizer (6); Roy Campbell: trumpet (1); William Parker: bass (1-3, 6, 9); Gerald Cleaver: drums (1-3, 6); Wadada Leo Smith: trumpet (2); Khan Jamal: vibes (3); Flam: synthesizers, programming (3, 6, 9); Joe Morris: bass (5, 10), Whit Dickey: drums (5, 8, 10-12); Michael Bisio: bass (8, 11, 12); Daniel Carter: alto saxophone, flute (9); Guillermo E. Brown: drums (9).

Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Thirsty Ear Recordings | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Love Dance CD/LP/Track Review Love Dance
by Troy Dostert
Published: March 25, 2017
Read Reflections CD/LP/Track Review Reflections
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 25, 2017
Read Back In Your Own Backyard CD/LP/Track Review Back In Your Own Backyard
by Budd Kopman
Published: March 25, 2017
Read Greatest Licks - I Feel Like Singin' CD/LP/Track Review Greatest Licks - I Feel Like Singin'
by Chris Mosey
Published: March 25, 2017
Read Through The Glass CD/LP/Track Review Through The Glass
by Nicola Negri
Published: March 25, 2017
Read Circles CD/LP/Track Review Circles
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 24, 2017
Read "America's National Parks" CD/LP/Track Review America's National Parks
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 10, 2016
Read "Velcro Bird" CD/LP/Track Review Velcro Bird
by John Eyles
Published: September 19, 2016
Read "Early Wayne: Explorations of Classic Wayne Shorter Compositions" CD/LP/Track Review Early Wayne: Explorations of Classic Wayne Shorter...
by Budd Kopman
Published: August 26, 2016
Read "Siren Songs" CD/LP/Track Review Siren Songs
by James Nadal
Published: April 24, 2016
Read "Rehab Reunion" CD/LP/Track Review Rehab Reunion
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 11, 2016
Read "Reflections Of A Voice" CD/LP/Track Review Reflections Of A Voice
by Chris Mosey
Published: January 14, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: DOT TIME RECORDS | BUT IT  

Support our sponsor

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!