Step into the temple. Leave your busy frenzy behind. This is a place to respect and honor the higher power. Matthew Shipp's second Thirsty Ear record since his temporary "retirement" at age 38 pays open tribute to the interstellar spirituality of Coltrane and Ra. New Orbit is a somber, gothic affair bearing some similarity in tone to Shipp's early work (eg. Circular Temple), but lacking the striking density and overt tension of his work from that period. The general approach here is extroverted but deliberate.
Much of New Orbit consists of open space. Shipp develops dark wispy themes with a structural focus; Leo Smith soars along warm, rich lines; William Parker bows a foamy harmonic stream. Harmonically speaking, these themes tend to rely upon tonal centers and a general pattern of conflict and resolution. When the quartet convenes in its entirety, William Parker's thick pulse and Gerald Cleaver's insistent forward-looking percussion drive the group's intensity to a higher level. This interplay tends to accent Smith's vibrant trumpet work, which bridges the gap between melodic simplicity and harmonic multiplicity.
Imagine sitting in an ancient stone church with high spires, arched hallways, and massive wooden doors hung on huge cast iron hinges. The glass in the windows is almost liquid: it's translucent but not transparent. Patterns of blue and green move across the floor with the travel of the sun across the sky. You can feel a spiritual force moving you, but you can't see a thing. This is the temple. This is where Shipp leads you on New Orbit. Make no mistake: the music is contemporary and progressive; but the emotions behind it are as ancient as yearning itself.
New Orbit; Paradox X; Orbit 2; Chi; Orbit 3; U Feature; Syntax; Maze Hint; Paradox Y; Orbit 4.
Matthew Shipp: piano; Wadada Leo Smith: trumpet; William Parker: bass; Gerald Cleaver: drums.
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.
Get more of a good thing
Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.