Matthew Shipp: Shipp Shifts

Chris Rich By

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David S. Ware—Live in the World"It was also the lead review in Rolling Stone magazine. It was a three-CD review with Ware and my trio CD, Circular Temple, (Infinite Zero, 1995), which had been reissued by punk rock icon Henry Rollins and Def Jam record producer Rick Rubin on American Recordings. The third CD in the lead review was a reissue of Live in Japan (Impulse!, 1991), by [saxophonist] John Coltrane. We were the first jazz CDs ever to be lead review in Rolling Stone history, which got the editor in trouble with Jann Wenner, the owner, but I think the editor wanted to make history."

Godspelized (DIW, 1996) "This might be David's greatest CD. I think so. He thought so. He said to me on a few occasions that we were possessed and taped into some realm that no one ever has on this particular CD. There is something utterly transcendental about this CD. Susie Ibarra is on drums."

Live In The World (Thirsty Ear, 2005) "David on Thirsty Ear Blue Series—a three-CD set with three different live gigs, a gig in Switzerland with Susie Ibarra on drums, a gig in Terni, Italy with Hamid Drake on drums (who was subbing for Guillermo), and a gig in Milano, Italy with Guillermo E. Brown on drums."

Freedom Suite (AUM Fidelity, 2002) "This is on AUM Fidelity and is Sonny Rollins' piece, the 'Freedom Suite.' Sonny gave us his blessings and, of course, there was no piano on the original version of Sonny's. Our version has the Ware sound but the material of the composition does shape things and intersects with our sound world. It might be one of the most fascinating CDs of that period."

Collaborations: Barb J. and Steve D.

"Collaborating with artist outside of music is a long tradition that vivifies your own art plus helps create hybrid headspaces—and it's fun—and lessons learned about time/space of other art forms can feed back into the music and make you look at time/pace and syntax in a different light," says Shipp.

"I have had a long term collaboration with poet Steve Dalachinsky. He understands the metaphysics of my music completely and has a knack for writing words that convey what some of his favorite jazz artists might be saying if they dealt with discursive language. In other words, he feels the rhythm and the resonance of the language.

"Collaborating with visual artist Barb Januskiewicz is something from the last year. She has an amazing project with saxophonist Dave Liebman, where she does live action painting to the music as a member of the "band.'

"My work with her is a collaboration on a film project, The Composer. Again, resonance is what draws me in and she has an innate feel for the resonance of the breaking of the circle and the linear forms that generate out of that.

"And with that, she generates fresh images that capture the resonance and color of modern jazz gestures."

"I take my influences and preferences in both music and art and try to fuse them in an aesthetic expression," says Januskiewicz. "There are works of art that one can react to instantly. These work all at once and are aesthetic experiences that unify and impose boundaries on the license of eye and ear.

"Other works of art achieve a dissociated and dissociating effect. They are the works that cannot be experienced or understood as feats of synthesis, or as products of a single point of view.

"My works are layers, with multiple perspectives. Much of my art can be described as an effort toward a radical disaffiliation of elements using patterns and textures. I like going deeper and reaching for awareness of a quarrelsome relationship between two presumably incompatible ways of experiencing works of art .

"I see the 'total' or unified work on the one hand and the dissociated asynchronous work on the other. I bring in music as my main influence, in my new visual work and it has helped me achieve this vision. I see musical shapes, not really objects, I visualize them, arranged coextensively in space. I try to reach that single, unimpeachable moment—then capture with a frozen moment on my canvas.

"Moving from painting into cinema is like an evocative poems gathered power, how the words can move you, to visualize. I never think of an audience or an art collector when creating works. Art that involves interactive happenings clutters my mind with multiple points of view. Many new sound and image installations require a spectator who continuously pays, rather than receives or reframes, attention. By contrast I am doing a total immersion on a two-dimensional surface, a sensorial experiences with my 2D art, expressing vibrations, seeing perhaps sound and reacting to the music.


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