11

Matthew Shipp Trio: Piano Song

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
Matthew Shipp has long been considered one of the leading pianists of his generation. Collaborating with artists from wide ranging genres over the past three decades, Shipp has maintained a distinctively singular vision with an immediately recognizable sound. Publicized as Shipp's final release for Thirsty Ear, Piano Song follows in the footsteps of The Conduct of Jazz, his 2015 trio recording for the revered label, although he is slated to remain curator of the imprint's ground-breaking "Blue Series."

Shipp's current working group features esteemed veterans Michael Bisio and Newman Taylor Baker. Bisio has been Shipp's regular bassist since Art of the Improviser (Thirsty Ear, 2011), and has repeatedly demonstrated an intuitive affinity for the leader's oblique methodology. Baker replaced longstanding drummer Whit Dickey on the trio's previous effort, and has proven to be perfectly attuned to the synergistic rapport shared by Bisio and Shipp.

The most approachable offering in Shipp's vast discography thus far, Piano Song regales with memorable melodies and infectious rhythms. The brief unaccompanied piano soliloquy "Links" opens the album with pensive romantic flourishes, easing into the date's conceptual centerpiece, "Cosmopolitan," a jaunty swinger whose boppish momentum interpolates the familiar bass line of Miles Davis' "So What." Despite its harmonious nature, the deceptively intricate tune offers a salient demonstration of Shipp and company's abilities to deconstruct forms in suspended time—accessible, but also adventurous.

Somewhat more restrained than earlier efforts, a number of pieces deal with texture in a minimalist manner. The cinematic tone poem "Blue Desert" for example, traffics in exotic tonalities, driven by delicate shaker rhythms, spectral bass harmonics and spare piano chords. Similarly understated, the mid-tempo ballad "Silence Of," and the vibrant solo piano meditation "The Nature Of" share more than a syntactic naming convention, unfolding as open-ended compositions in a state of flux. Embodying the unit's visceral tendencies, thrashing numbers like "Microwave" and "Gravity Point" are brisk, angular explorations, while the title track finds Shipp at his most lyrical, eschewing bombast for tenderness, closing the varied session as it began, with a contemplative flair.

Imaginatively incorporating conventional melodies, harmonies and rhythms into their dynamically fluid interplay, Shipp and his sidemen offer a unique take on the venerable piano trio tradition. Avoiding the stereotypical formal limitations of both the mainstream and avant-garde, Piano Song stands tall as one of the finest moments in Shipp's vast oeuvre.

Track Listing: Links; Cosmopolitan; Blue Desert; Silence Of; Flying Carpet; Scrambled Brain; Microwave; Mind Space; Void of Sea; The Nature Of; Gravity Point; Piano Song.

Personnel: Matthew Shipp: piano; Michael Bisio: bass; Newman Taylor Baker: drums.

Title: Piano Song | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Thirsty Ear Recordings

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Thesis

Thesis

Matthew Shipp
Duos With Mat Maneri & Joe...

4D

4D

Matthew Shipp
4D

Radio
Multiple Reviews
Album Reviews
Live Reviews
Album Reviews
Year in Review
Album Reviews
Live Reviews
Album Reviews
Read more articles
Signature

Signature

ESP Disk
2019

buy
New American Songbooks, Volume 2

New American...

Pleasure Of Text Records
2019

buy
Sonic Fiction

Sonic Fiction

ESP Disk
2018

buy
Symbol Systems

Symbol Systems

Hatology
2018

buy
Zero

Zero

ESP Disk
2018

buy
New American Songbooks, Volume 2

New American...

Pleasure Of Text Records
2018

buy

Related Articles

Read Confluence Album Reviews
Confluence
By Dan McClenaghan
July 16, 2019
Read Movimenti Album Reviews
Movimenti
By Geno Thackara
July 16, 2019
Read A New Home Album Reviews
A New Home
By Mark Corroto
July 16, 2019
Read Autocannibalism Album Reviews
Autocannibalism
By John Eyles
July 16, 2019
Read Blume Album Reviews
Blume
By Chris May
July 15, 2019
Read About The Moment Album Reviews
About The Moment
By Geno Thackara
July 15, 2019
Read Källtorp Sessions, Volume One Album Reviews
Källtorp Sessions, Volume One
By Mark Corroto
July 15, 2019