All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

6

Matthew Shipp: Zero

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
There has always been a connection between Thelonious Monk and Matthew Shipp, just not in the music they play. Monk, a student of Harlem stride piano, was present at the birth of bebop. Shipp, born in 1960, has always been associated with the avant-garde, free jazz and improvisation. The connection between the two pianists is their creation of a distinctive and personal language. Monk's melodic twists were foreign to many listeners and were put down as being weird and unconventional. It may be surprising today to read reviews of Monk's music from back in the day describing his playing "wrong notes." Today we hold up as untouchable genius the music he wrote and perfected over many years practice and application, and it seems strange to us that many couldn't "hear" it.

The same can be said of Shipp. Over the course of more than thirty years recording and performing, his catalog has swelled. Unlike Monk, Shipp rarely repeats a composition, leaving listeners of his often challenging music in need of a way in, a sort of Rosetta Stone. I suggest that Zero might be just such a tool.

These eleven tracks are a synthesis of his methodology. Although he has absorbed Bill Evans, Duke Ellington, Cecil Taylor, Elmo Hope, Arnold Schoenberg, and Johann Sebastian Bach, the language he has created is all his own. That said, his catalog is ineffable and possibly without a proper description. Listening to Zero—like, say, Thelonious Alone In San Francisco (Riverside, 1959)—is a key to his denser works.

Like Monk, Shipp has created his own language, what he might call a symbol system. His blues are often fragmented, leading you away from the familiar and into a house with many rooms. He can attack the keyboards as a percussionist, or play some gentle licks that would soothe a kitten. There is a logic to each piece here, and the listener can have confidence in the resolution of ideas.

Besides the music as a blueprint to Shipp's vast catalog, the release comes with a second CD recording an hour-long lecture the pianist gave at The Stone in NYC explaining his process.

Track Listing: Zero; Abyss Before Zero; Pole After Zero; Piano Panels; Cosmic Sea; Zero Skip and a Jump; Zero Subtract From Jazz; Blue Equation; Pattern Emerge; Ghost Pattern; After Zero.

Personnel: Matthew Shipp: piano.

Title: Zero | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: ESP Disk

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Thesis

Thesis

Matthew Shipp
Duos With Mat Maneri & Joe...

4D

4D

Matthew Shipp
4D

Live Reviews
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 Uplift The People CD/LP/Track Review
Uplift The People
by John Sharpe
Published: August 21, 2018
Read A New Shade Of Blue CD/LP/Track Review
A New Shade Of Blue
by Chris May
Published: August 21, 2018
Read Rabbits on the Run CD/LP/Track Review
Rabbits on the Run
by Glenn Astarita
Published: August 21, 2018
Read Imaginary Numbers CD/LP/Track Review
Imaginary Numbers
by John Sharpe
Published: August 21, 2018
Read Point Blank CD/LP/Track Review
Point Blank
by Chris May
Published: August 20, 2018
Read Tell Me The Truth CD/LP/Track Review
Tell Me The Truth
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: August 20, 2018
Read "Infância" CD/LP/Track Review Infância
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 3, 2017
Read "No World Between Us" CD/LP/Track Review No World Between Us
by Tyran Grillo
Published: March 30, 2018
Read "Unbroken" CD/LP/Track Review Unbroken
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: May 30, 2018
Read "Songbook" CD/LP/Track Review Songbook
by Troy Dostert
Published: December 4, 2017
Read "Paint" CD/LP/Track Review Paint
by Jerome Wilson
Published: October 16, 2017
Read "Don't Blink" CD/LP/Track Review Don't Blink
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 4, 2017