204

Matthew Shipp: Piano Vortex

Lyn Horton By

Sign in to view read count
Matthew Shipp: Piano Vortex The physical universe and spirit are indivisibly connected. To explain the dynamics that unifies them requires a language accessible to human perceptions. One of those languages is music.

Matthew Shipp has elected to reveal how the universe and spirit interact musically in more ways than one. The endeavor to come out of a period where he took on the task by himself has assumed the form of a trio recording, Piano Vortex (Thirsty Ear, 2007), on which he is joined by Joe Morris on bass and Whit Dickey on drums.

The tight design of this CD, right down to the sequence and titles of the tracks, sends a message of the present tense. Each track explains what is going on in the music as it happens. Shipp has taken the parts and arranged them according to his sense of evolution, just as each piece that the trio plays has an evolution of its own.

The interplay among the instruments is beautifully balanced. Although the piano is up front, the players have equal say in what transpires. The lightness of Shipp's hands is notable from the very beginning. In the first and title track, his fingers trip across the keys in fluid arrays of erudite tunefulness that can break down into elemental vagaries. He locks into a downright groove in "Keyswing and "To Vitalize. But his capacity to construct abstractions and his predilection for a heavy chordal ostinato and phrase repetition shine as well, exemplified by "Sliding Through Space. Shipp's only solo statement, on "Slips Through the Fingers, marks a stretch when the whirlwind of music can begin to calm down.

Sometimes the sound that Shipp and Morris produce cannot be divorced, as in "Nooks and Corners. At other times, the complementary nature between the two is stark, demonstrated in the first measures of "The New Circumstance, when Morris uses his bow. Morris widens Shipp's sound. He can fill in the spaces that Shipp leaves open so that the two come across like different personalities of one instrument. His pizzicati are detailed; the reverberations of the strings are controlled. His bowing can echo the mood of the piano and transform into its contrail when the piano shuts down.

Whit Dickey has an inexhaustible lightness of touch without which Shipp and Morris would lack completion. Dickey underlines whatever the piano and the bass do. His strokes vary in coloration within certain limits. Whether he swooshes the skins and cymbals with brushes or dryly strikes them with sticks, the sound that comes forth is always muted, nonetheless precise. Any rhythm Dickey keeps locks into the way the music flows, rather than becoming the driving force behind it.

When asked why the titles for his songs and albums are sometimes associated with the "physical world, Shipp refers to Hermetic philosophy in his explanation: "As above, so below...the outside is stimulated by the inside...the universe is one...whatever is up in space is also inside of you... The music of Piano Vortex can convince anyone of that.

Track Listing: Piano Vortex; Keyswing; The New Circumstance; Nooks and Corners; Sliding Through Space; Quivering with Speed; Slips Through the Fingers; To Vitalize.

Personnel: Matthew Shipp: piano; Joe Morris: bass; Whit Dickey: drums.

Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Thirsty Ear Recordings | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Rags And Roots CD/LP/Track Review Rags And Roots
by James Nadal
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Tangled CD/LP/Track Review Tangled
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Is It Me...? CD/LP/Track Review Is It Me...?
by Edward Blanco
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Live CD/LP/Track Review Live
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 25, 2017
Read 14.11.2016 CD/LP/Track Review 14.11.2016
by Nicola Negri
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Malnoia CD/LP/Track Review Malnoia
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 24, 2017
Read "The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark" CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 17, 2017
Read "The Catfish" CD/LP/Track Review The Catfish
by Chris Mosey
Published: February 15, 2017
Read "Day By Day" CD/LP/Track Review Day By Day
by Rob Rosenblum
Published: January 16, 2017
Read "Reflections" CD/LP/Track Review Reflections
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: March 11, 2017
Read "The Outlier" CD/LP/Track Review The Outlier
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 16, 2016
Read "Black Diamond" CD/LP/Track Review Black Diamond
by Joe Gatto
Published: March 7, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!