All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Live Reviews

4

Matthew Shipp Trio at SFJAZZ

Harry S. Pariser By

Sign in to view read count
Matt Shipp Trio
SFJAZZ
San Francisco, CA
December 8, 2017

In this era, one where many of most popular musicians in the musical genre classified as "jazz" double as pop musicians, Matthew Shipp stands out. True to his craft since he moved to New York City in 1984, the 57-year-old Shipp has made innumerable recordings—solo, with a group, and as a sideman on dates with avant-garde legends David S. Ware and Roscoe Mitchell, as well as no less than 31 recordings with the Braziian-born avant-garde tenor saxophonist Ivo Perelman.

On this particular evening, Shipp was making a rare West Coast appearance at SFJAZZ in their intimate Joe Henderson Lab. Clad in jeans and sneakers, Shipp sat down at the piano at stage right and played meditatively. Playing with Shipp since 2009, acoustic bassist Michael Bisio stood to his right. His dress shirt hung over pants with cuffs folded up. Bisio's long and straight but shaggy grey hair fell forward as he moved his chin up and down in concentration. Drummer Newman Taylor Baker—who has played with the likes of Billy Bang, Henry Threadgill, Billy Harper, Henry Grimes and Leroy Jenkins—sat behind his kit at the other end of the stage.

The trio has jelled in the years since Taylor-Baker arrived (replacing longtime Shipp associate Whit Dickey), and their interplay wass both fluid and solid. During the evening, the trio improvised on numbers such as "Virgin Complex," "Someday My Prince Will Come," "On Green Dolphin Street" and "What is This Thing Called Love?," during which Shipp procreated prolific pyrotechnics with the piano keys.

Seated at the black, gleaming Yamaha, Shipp played meditatively before he building up to a crescendo. His cupped fingers crawled forward in a way reminiscent of the struggle of a beached crab attempting to use its pincers to pull itself out of sand. He pulled his hands back towards him, over and over, fast and furious. His fingers would pounce with determination to the left of his keyboard, then the center; his right foot pounded the pedal, building up a cathedral-like structure. At times, he would exercise prodigious percussion, bringing up explosive notes and painting the air with sound. When the others would solo or duet, he would lean forward to relax, his arms stretched over the Yamaha's keyboard.

Bisio plucked his strings, pressed his hand flat down on his bass strings, brought forth squeaky sounds as he leaned back—his left hand fingering upward with thumb and two forefingers as he bowed, sawing the bow in a circle. A memorable moment was an innovative solo in which he lovingly rendered John Coltrane's "Wise One." Given his virtuousity, it is hard to understand why Bisio is not better known.

Taylor-Baker soloed confidently, his head bobbing up and down in time to the music; his long braided locks flowing. He brought both unusual texture and energy to the evening's music by playing the edges of his drums with his sticks and engaging in an explosive solo.

Shipp called the band as the evening's performance wound down, and the enthused audience milled about before departing.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Thesis

Thesis

Matthew Shipp
Duos With Mat Maneri & Joe...

4D

4D

Matthew Shipp
4D

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Sonic Fiction

Sonic Fiction

ESP Disk
2018

buy
Symbol Systems

Symbol Systems

Hatology
2018

buy
Zero

Zero

ESP Disk
2018

buy
Magnetism(s)

Magnetism(s)

Rogue Art
2017

buy

Related Articles

Read Danny Green Trio at the Lily Pad Live Reviews
Danny Green Trio at the Lily Pad
by Doug Hall
Published: June 23, 2018
Read Terence Blanchard and E-Collective at Ardmore Music Hall Live Reviews
Terence Blanchard and E-Collective at Ardmore Music Hall
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 21, 2018
Read Broken Shadows at Icehouse Live Reviews
Broken Shadows at Icehouse
by Samuel Stroup
Published: June 21, 2018
Read Donny McCaslin Group / Ensemble LPR: Symphonic Bowie at Central Park SummerStage Live Reviews
Donny McCaslin Group / Ensemble LPR: Symphonic Bowie at...
by Kurt Gottschalk
Published: June 19, 2018
Read Burlington Discover Jazz Festival 2018 Live Reviews
Burlington Discover Jazz Festival 2018
by Doug Collette
Published: June 13, 2018
Read Le French May’s Live Jazz Series in Hong Kong Live Reviews
Le French May’s Live Jazz Series in Hong Kong
by Rob Garratt
Published: June 11, 2018
Read "Rene Marie at Dazzle" Live Reviews Rene Marie at Dazzle
by Geoff Anderson
Published: August 24, 2017
Read "Gabrielle Stravelli at The 75 Club" Live Reviews Gabrielle Stravelli at The 75 Club
by Tyran Grillo
Published: December 21, 2017
Read "38th International Jazzfestival Saalfelden" Live Reviews 38th International Jazzfestival Saalfelden
by Enrico Bettinello
Published: September 15, 2017
Read "Dixie Dregs at Lincoln Theatre" Live Reviews Dixie Dregs at Lincoln Theatre
by Eric Thiessen
Published: March 18, 2018