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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Matthew Shipp: Zero

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In a recent interview with Jazz Trail's Filipe Freitas, pianist/composer Matthew Shipp talked about returning to his long-standing inquiry into how spontaneous free improvisation develops. His thought process involves “the same metaphysical concepts that have always been what I ask -how things come out of nothing?" Shipp's line of questioning is strikingly close in its relationship to the concepts of a physical universe arising from “nothing," the nothing being the energy of empty space. Shipp--like physicists--expresses a fascination with what ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Matthew Shipp Quartet: Sonic Fiction

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The ESP-Disk label simultaneously has released two distinctly different leader dates from Matthew Shipp. Zero is an excellent solo piano album, and here, we have Shipp's namesake quartet on the ten-track Sonic Fiction. The shared deference and camaraderie in this free-spirited outing allows for an appreciation of even the slightest details and distinctions--elements that can easily be lost in such an open setting. The quartet is made up of familiar Shipp colleagues but not previously heard in this ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Matthew Shipp: Zero

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Playing improvised solo piano is essentially a conundrum. Where do you start and when does a form emerge? Music begins as sounds and a composition could be the shaping of those sounds, but what about silence and the thing that comes before sound? Avantgarde-composer, John Cage, famously framed the sound of silence on his composition “4'33" to show that music is always happening, but in a very conceptual way. Pianist, improvisor and composer, Matthew Shipp, arrives at the same point ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Matthew Shipp: Not Bound

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On Not Bound, pianist extraordinaire Matthew Shipp and his top-drawer rhythm section of Michael Bisio on bass and Whit Dickey on drums is joined by multi-instrumentalist Steve Carter in an exceptional tour de force of spontaneous music within a compositional framework. Each of the five tracks offers unique and exciting lyricism. “Soul Secrets" begins with a cool piano and flute intro that leads to a rumble. Bisio is quite active on the bass, even under the unhurried opening ...

BEST OF / YEAR END

Jakob Baekgaard's Best Releases of 2017

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2017 was another good year for music and while there is much unrest in the world, it is a source of comfort that it is still possible to bring people together from different corners of the world to play and sing together. Here are twelve records that stood out for me. Matthew Shipp Piano Song Thirsty Ear Why? Matthew Shipp continues to define and redefine the piano with great respect for ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Matthew Shipp: Magnetism(s)

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When originally issued back in 1999, pianist Matthew Shipp's Magnetism (Bleu Regard), uniting him with long standing soul mates bassist William Parker and saxophonist Rob Brown, stood as one of a series of fine dates by the pianist which included By The Law Of Music (Hat Art, 1997) and Strata (Hat Art, 1998). Like many of Shipp's albums of that period it comprises a sequence of short pieces which feature varying instrumentation. The Paris-based Rogue Art imprint has now reissued ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Matthew Shipp Trio at SFJAZZ

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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 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Matthew Shipp & Mat Walerian Duo/The Uppercut: Live At Okuden

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Forming a duo in jazz can amount to a daunting task. There's simply no hiding; with arrangements so sparse, possibility is boundless and subtleties are fully exposed. This formless atmosphere requires able musicians who can immerse themselves in their instruments and in turn, feed off each other to eventually flourish on a singular wavelength. The innovators of the jazz duo--Anthony Braxton and Max Roach, Bill Evans and Jim Hall, Dave Holland and Sam Rivers--reaped these artistic benefits and effectively solidified ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Toxic: Mat Walerian/Matthew Shipp/William Parker: This Is Beautiful Because We Are Beautiful People

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Polish multi-instrumentalist Mat Walerian is on the verge of reserving his seat in the pantheon of groundbreaking hornmen who recorded for the late Bernard Stollman's storied ESP-Disk' label. Not as frenetic as Frank Wright, nor as strident as Sonny Simmons, Walerian instead boasts a singular approach that binds Eastern influence and blues sensibility with fluent, legato phrasing, often reminiscent of Marion Brown's lyrical finesse. His first two live recordings for ESP--The Uppercut: Live at Okuden (2015) with Matthew Shipp and ...