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  • Matthew Shipp                
    and Whit Dickey on drums Mr Shipp puts a high premium on slippery subversions his obduracy has more to do with artful dissonance than with blunt impact Near the middle of the set on a theme called The New Circumstance he chimed a series of spiraling chords in 7 4 meter With bass and drums rustling fast beneath him that passage momentarily evoked the pianist and composer Andrew Hill Elsewhere there were dark rumbles slow building crescendos and the occasional spry syncopation One engaging section delivered the boppish pianism of Bud Powell Throughout the set Mr Shipp guided the trio with both hands on the keyboard allocating equal time to portentous chords and silvery arpeggios Mr Morris an esteemed avant garde guitarist is less authoritative a bassist than William Parker Mr Shipp s longtime collaborator Putting aside that unfair comparison Mr Morris was effective as both foundation and foil in his spidery walking bass lines especially he imbued the music with a useful twinge of unease His bowing was more of an outright irritant perhaps not entirely on purpose Mr Dickey was more responsive in his interactions creating a dialogue with both bass and piano Texturally he enlisted everything from

    Original URL path: http://www.matthewshipp.com/press/110-nytimes/110-nytimes.html (2016-02-12)
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  • Matthew Shipp                
    but Morris does seem to be the bass man of choice for those who explore the out there fringes of jazz and his renewed friendship with Shipp is refreshing Whit Dickey a former member of the David Ware Quartet alongside Shipp also returns to form here The opening title cut Piano Vortex is all together drum less focusing on the tightness of Morris and Shipp s interplay Keyswing does just that a far cry from the effects laden adventures of previous Blue Series releases but not outside Shipp s expansive repertoire Something about the chords Shipp plays with his right hand give this tune an original feel They sound static like white noise almost distorted all while his left hand toys with a wonderful little swing melody Morris grabs his bow for the intro to The New Circumstance and digs in for a lengthy solo later It s nice to hear Shipp lay low and let his sidemen shine for much of this song And overall the space given to each band member by the other is impressive Piano Vortex may be the name but at any point the listener can choose to latch on to something being played by

    Original URL path: http://www.matthewshipp.com/press/111-allaboutjazz-james/111-allaboutjazz-james.html (2016-02-12)
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  • Matthew Shipp                
    of the instrument examining fragments of a melody that he begins to extrapolate upon before fully realizing it He allows Morris and then Dickey to provide a ground of steady but non insistent communication as he winds his way all around this minor key idea before eventually turning his head to chromatics and color taking the rhythm as a cue to begin to build on The fragmental melodic idea gets spread out pretty wide but it never falls apart He plays inside his own set of restrictions to engage the band percussively with accents that fire first on ones and then on twos and threes and his beautiful trills 16th note runs block chords and scalar flourishes are beautiful little asides as the piece becomes more abstract in its middle stages before flying off into wild and sometimes purposely repetitive and lyrically elegant note patterns in varying dynamics The rhythm section flies to accommodate him and on a dime they can shift that dynamic and stretch Shipp s melodic interplay even further On other cuts such as Key Swing Shipp directly engages the blues via equal parts Bobby Timmons Thelonious Monk and Ramsey Lewis Nooks and Crannies uses intricate scalar notions à la Lennie Tristano without moving directly into bebop The patterns are knotty elongated lines inside other lines and yes both these tunes swing The dialogue between Dickey and Morris is particularly gratifying here because they move forward along a line that while not entirely straight is circular and finds its way back as a landmark for Shipp particularly on the latter number To Vitalize begins as a straight hard bop tune before becoming an elliptical mode of inquiry for Shipp and company He follows Monk s ideas of ending lines in the middle and tagging on grainy harmonic

    Original URL path: http://www.matthewshipp.com/press/112-all-music/112-all-music.html (2016-02-12)
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  • Matthew Shipp                
    traced even by a traditional jazz trio The cliché of subtlety is lost on some people rings true here Of course the words traditional and Matthew Shipp don t often appear together On Piano Vortex though Shipp dials back on the technology instead focusing on the possibilities of piano bass drums interplay To my ears there are way too many highlights to enumerate but let s get at what makes this trio different The New Circumstance begins with Joe Morris yes that Joe Morris this time on bass playing a short bowed solo backed by Whit Dickey s swift brushes before Shipp s first piano chords splash over them There s a lot of tension and release on this tune as the intensity of the improvisations build and explode while ideas are passed back and forth between Shipp and his cohorts Just when you re absolutely certain that chaos is about to take over everybody lays back to start the process all over again Morris and Dickey both take extended solos near the end of the piece before Shipp comes back in with a final series of chords that seem to resolve everything A much different approach is taken on Sliding Through Space where the entire story written in real time is told with short instrumental vignettes First piano then bass and drums then piano bass and drums With Dickey sticking mainly to brushes and ride cymbals the piece has the feel of a call response between Shipp and Morris That is until all three players set off on a long excursion that slowly builds until Shipp channels Cecil Taylor with some serious abuse of the keyboard Scary stuff until Shipp drops back to let Morris bowed bass this time and Dickey let the air clear The dust indeed settles

    Original URL path: http://www.matthewshipp.com/press/114-blog-magazine/114-blog-magazine.html (2016-02-12)
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  • Matthew Shipp                
    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

    Original URL path: http://www.matthewshipp.com/press/113-allaboutjazz-lyn/113-allaboutjazz-lyn.html (2016-02-12)
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  • Matthew Shipp                
    romanticism Maybe somewhat Straddling the tradition and a forward looking experimentalism Shipp instead embodies a kind of quantum theory of jazz where all styles coexist simultaneously and a player can dip as easily into 1959 as 2007 What makes Shipp truly important is his ability to refract traditional jazz standards classical textures free improv percussive tumult and lyrical melody through his own musical prism The results never sound like a

    Original URL path: http://www.matthewshipp.com/press/107-destination-out/107-destination-out.html (2016-02-12)
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  • Matthew Shipp                
    elegant architecture and measured elocution One s 12 songs often resemble the early 20th century piano studies of Ravel or Debussy as closely as they do modern jazz On recent albums like Equilibrium or Harmony and Abyss Shipp masked similar neo classical touches beneath surface samples and programmed beats But in this uncluttered format Shipp has patiently afforded himself the space necessary to cultivate his sketches in full On these tracks he plays with an expectant relish an audible curiosity about where his compositions might next lead him And while One will surely disappoint those who ve come in hopes of fiery atom splitting improvisation Shipp delivers these refined performances with such authority and sheer inquisitive force that his undisguised enthusiasm for this material can prove easily persuasive Arc opens the album with a full bodied ascendent sequence of chords that confidently pave the way for the splashy Patmos which cascades into a dazzling series of single note runs that pop away like flashbulbs Gamma Ray finds Shipp at his most devoutly Monk like chipping away at the song s turbulent rhythms until settling into a loopy satisfying Jelly Roll Morton rumble Conversely on the brief A Rose Is a

    Original URL path: http://www.matthewshipp.com/press/104-pitchfork/104-pitchfork.html (2016-02-12)
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  • Matthew Shipp                
    instrument is nothing short of direct and intensely human The theme from Patmos from his solo recording One started the concert The theme set the pace for an hour of masterful display of talent and an extraordinarily mindful grasp of direction The theme became a comfortable nucleus out of which an organic expansion and contraction of the improvisation could take place The proportions of the musical space from the beginning to the end were measurable from the Patmos theme to the Gamma Ray theme also from One to exquisite hints of the classic Angel Eyes These familiar phrases anchored the improvisation The colorful extemporaneity became the between the exhaling the explosive Shipp s hands moved broadly through series after series of chords both broken and whole accented with intermittent striking of shrill notes in the treble end of the keyboard shrill in comparison to the dark mysterious and vast resonance emanating from the bass notes which Shipp treasures for an expressive medium Shipp mollified the hugeness of the sound with a quiet restfulness created by repeatedly stroking the keys hand over hand in two or three note formations downward from the tops of the keys The action transitioned to larger and louder configurations The music simply kept coming relentlessly Shipp enunciated every phrase note rumble run and chord His eyes were always closed He cradled his head to his left shoulder He sat straight and tall his chin jutting out in assuredness He stamped his right foot as if overtaken by the paroxysms of rhythmic epiphany The nearly Beethoven like culmination of the first piece arrived almost at its finish Endless thunderous repetitions of bass chords codified a supremely intense sonic climax This is simply how Shipp intends to describe the improvisational enlightenment Reaching this place becomes a source of

    Original URL path: http://www.matthewshipp.com/press/103-jazzreview/103-jazzreview.html (2016-02-12)
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