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  • Matthew Shipp                
    2008 in that it comes across as a series of spontaneous improvisations eschewing the more overtly scripted numbers present on other studio sessions such as 4D Thirsty Ear 2010 and One Thirsty Ear 2005 Although at times certain nagging refrains and pounded patterns hint at other Shipp constructs they spin off in new and unexpected combinations following their own internal logic Taken together they form a suite like continuum instantly recognizable due to Shipp s deeply personal synthesis of romantic shimmer flinty undertow and rhythmic spasms One of the pianist s enduring traits is his refusal to embrace linear narrative through the time honored sequence of theme and variations Rather he prefers to juxtapose and contrast ideas rarely settling into a sustained groove While the thirteen cuts may not inspire whistling along many of the pieces boast a particularly lyrical core In fact the blues tinged opening figure of Blue To A Point may be as near to convention as Shipp gets However few would dare belay the point as obsessively as he does at the end of Fragment Of A Whole when a Baroque feel gives way to flowing exposition and a dramatic pummeled ending on a single note

    Original URL path: http://www.matthewshipp.com/press/176-allaboutjazz/176-allaboutjazz.html (2016-02-12)
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  • Matthew Shipp                
    rather than triads is a topic that could fill a book He didn t record solo again until 2001 a one off project Songs for the Italian label Splasc H which true to its title consisted entirely of jazz standards though an unusually broad selection that included such modern standards as Sonny Rollins s East Broadway Run Down Five years later after he d moved into a knottier style came One on Thirsty Ear Shipp curates the label s Blue Series a landmark in his career about which I wrote His distinctive personal style continues to shift and evolve here he often pares back the density and at times gives his music a more composed feel Sometimes modal sometimes outside his improvisations unfold organically sometimes lyrical more often probing and spiky In 2008 French label Rogue art issued Un Piano which I have not heard 2010 brought another I haven t tracked down Creation Out of Nothing Live in Moscow SoLyd along with the more readily available 4D Thirsty Ear which has a gnomic Bachian feeling at least to me if he had titled it Inventions I wouldn t have batted an eyelash And now Piano Sutras The influence on Shipp of Mal Waldron 1925 2002 seems to go largely unremarked with Shipp much more often being compared to Cecil Taylor Now of course Cecil was not uninfluential but more perhaps by being someone whose style Shipp shied away from in the quest to forge an individual sound Yet critics who don t know any better hear dissonant free jazz piano and reflexively say Cecil Taylor as though there s only one avant piano jazz template No Shipp is far more influenced by Waldron and enthusiastically admits it whenever the topic is raised This is not to say that he imitates Waldron rather he has absorbed Waldron s also distinctive approach and refracted it back out through his own stylistic prism so that it s something new but anyone who has heard for instance Waldron s mighty solo album On Steinway recorded in 1972 for the Japanese label Teichiku and most recently reissued on CD by Fuel 2000 can hear that Shipp has roots there and in Ellington Monk Beirach and the aforementioned Scriabin among others One can hear this very specifically in his sense of rhythm and the way he will repetitively hammer and peck at a pattern subtly mutating it in the gnarled shapes of some of his themes the way they crookedly spiral around an unstated center and more generally in how often he plays in the piano s lower range For that matter Waldron was over a decade into his recording career and past a change in style at least partly related to recovering from brain damage after a heroin overdose that led to him playing less like his bebop origins and with greater angularity though this shift had started before the accident before he made his first solo recording I m going on about the

    Original URL path: http://www.matthewshipp.com/press/175-culture-catch/175-culture-catch.html (2016-02-12)
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  • Matthew Shipp                
    strength to fully throw herself into taking risks Living through life threatening situations infuses one with the joy of living every day Matthew s music is hauntingly beautiful like a lingering nightmare and brings a voice to the dark music in Barbara s head Working with another artist relieves the loneliness of a solitary artist s life and in this case heightens the idea of what creative vision is Happy ideas sad ideas the idea of doing something new and taking a huge risk all define this concept Barbara is working with Matthew because she believes jazz artists truly understand risk taking For example take a look at the musical called a trainwreck where one artist gets off tune from the others Initially it sounds terrible yet there is beauty to be found in the aggressive dissonance Working together enables artists to truly understand their motives and inspirations Barbara is working on this project out of love for filmmaking and what new worlds of ideas multimedia art can produce She looks at this project as a composition like a canvas painting where she has to consider all the elements We have all the necessary ingredients for a masterpiece the artist s perspective movement texture risk danger drama problem solving skills excitement and emotions all of which feelings can be brought up by viewing beautiful art If you give us a chance we can put all these things together to make a breakout piece of art that celebrates the composer s creative vision in working out a composition Usually the audience only gets to view the final product but in this unique scenario the viewer experiences the entire creative process from start to finish The Composer This avant garde film is about hope creative vision and extraordinary existential power of music

    Original URL path: http://www.matthewshipp.com/press/154-composer/154-composer.html (2016-02-12)
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  • Matthew Shipp                
    And who can better describe it than the ensemble proprietor himself One thing I learned from my 16 years in the David S Ware Quartet is the importance of a unit really being a unit says Shipp I knew that before David but he reinforced that idea In these days often because of economic need so many musicians function as journey people And there is nothing wrong with that and often great music is produced but there is something about a band that has made a commitment to develop a music together where the band becomes a lifestyle In my music I really depend on a deep relationship with my bassist That relationship both grounds me and frees me up People who have followed my music in the past know the names associated with me in this realm Enter Michael Bisio the bassist in my current trio For lack of a better word he is a monster Monster sound chops knowledge faith in where the music can go instinct to follow my phrasing etcetera etcetera etcetera I depend on a bassist I wrap my lines around their lines and if I was a pitcher in baseball I would probably be someone unorthodox like Satchel Paige I like to throw the rhythm section sliders changeups spit balls along with my fastball Bisio always knows exactly what part of the plate the ball is going over no matter what pitch I throw I really depend on my bassist maybe Shipp is a vampire who sucks the blood from the bassist Even though my relationship with my bassist is clear cut my relationship with the drummer is always more problematic paradoxically that was the same situation with David S Ware who went through four drummers over the period I was in the quartet Whit Dickey is my drummer of choice in the trio Whit is an idiosyncratic artist who brings a very unique and special set of variables to the equation First it s his sound he gets a very beautiful sound out of the drums we have borrowed other drummers drums at gigs and after the gig the drummer we borrowed it from have marveled at how Whit tunes their drums Whit is idiomatic for the jazz avant garde whatever that is but he does not play any jazz avant garde clichés and does not sound like any of the forefathers of drumming in this area I also need a balance of someone who can mark off pulse when needed and someone who can be a colorist and not get in the way of my phrasing I don t know if there is a perfect balance of this and if it is one I don t know if we get it all the time All I know is when the gig is going well it feels really good with this particular configuration Whit is very interesting in the fact that he is a very analytical person but there is also an aspect

    Original URL path: http://www.matthewshipp.com/press/168-aaj/168-aaj.html (2016-02-12)
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  • Matthew Shipp                
    briefly with Ran Blake but mainly I am a product of my own imagination Do you find that you can express yourself through hip hop and electronica as well as you can through jazz are the older listeners sometimes only looking for the free jazz When I did do the electronica projects it was a viable means of expression I looked at it as if a composer decides to use a cello in a piece that is his her means of orchestration well the electronic aspects of those projects where my orchestration for those specific projects and yes there are those people that only relate to the perceived purity of an acoustic free jazz situation but by and large most people are open minded or at least understand that an artist needs to be free to explore different things even if it is not the listeners cup of tea Who is your favorite jazz pianist In the jazz idiom I most relate to the strength and purity of conception of Bud Powell and a close second for me is Thelonious Monk Your newest work Piano Sutras has been released recently Tell us about recording the album Was the selection process for the album difficult and is there any theme that runs through the work Piano Sutras is a prayer to the piano hence the term sutras I am trying to find a dimension on the instrument where the instrument is a simulation of itself by itself in other words the instrument plays itself So the theme that runs through the CD is the spiritual aspect of the pure act of playing the piano the selection process was not difficult for I composed all the music except two pieces a cover of Giant Steps by Coltrane and Nefertiti by Wayne Shorter But other than those two pieces the rest of the material is my own and the pieces fit into a puzzle that explores various aspects of yin and yang darkness and light and a whole spectrum of pianistic vibrations You have been a member of David S Ware s Quartet Could you tell us about working with David I joined the David S Ware quartet in 1989 and was a member for 16 years It was a tremendous experience and gave me the chance to flex my muscles as an orchestrator in the rhythm section of a modern tenor player who had a big sound and a spirituality not unlike Coltrane but whose music was of this time and his vision of what modern jazz is now that we speak David gave me a lot of freedom in band though he had specific ways of going about some of the material and the way I voice chords and my sense of pulse seemed to work hand in hand with his lines motifs and compositions David was an iconoclast and an original and despite the fact that we did get a lot of notice as a quartet I don t think

    Original URL path: http://www.matthewshipp.com/press/166-soul-jazz-funk/166-soul-jazz-funk.html (2016-02-12)
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  • Matthew Shipp                
    Cosmic Dust wherein he uses a detailed harmonic base then explores most of its tonal and dynamic possibilities while touching on moments of Round Midnight and Pannonica This set is about scope and economy as much as it is about the right notes and chords Check Surface to a Curve where the emphasis on empty or pregnant space adds additional weight to the notes The use of the piano s middle and upper registers in Space Bubble offers us an aspect of Shipp s character that is always evident yet seldom discussed the emotional commitment in his compositional method is equal to the rigorous intellect he applies in the architecture of creation This is one of his most tender and elegant ballads it contains a sense of mystery at once profound and poetic Blue to a Point uses the modal blues freely shifting the phrasing of the 12 bar form to examine the tones inside individual chords in the structure and reshuffle them note by note to create new ones that illuminate what was previously hidden perhaps even from him initially The repetitive evolving motif in Angelic Brain Cell confronts conventional notions of rhythm and timbre as it assembles dissembles

    Original URL path: http://www.matthewshipp.com/press/164-allmusic/164-allmusic.html (2016-02-12)
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  • Matthew Shipp
    of great original American music whatever name you want to give it Cosmic Shuffle is not alone in Shipp s recent music in being driven by a core swing rhythm his left hand walking like an upright bass in places but never restricted to that feeling The whole piece is as swung as hard any Count Basie performance but it swings beyond the usual rules of structure and convention taking detours into moments of contemplation before heading back into free wheeling call and response patterns that would make Jimmie Lunceford smile Or check out the related Cosmic Dust which uses surges and shifts in tempo every few bars to create a feeling of manic momentum The daring squiggles what a previous generation might have called licks or riffs that he generates in these tunes seems free of cliché but also tonal within his own system That is Cosmic Dust is really as accessible to the untutored ear as a solo by say Chick Corea as long as you re not looking for the usual Tin Pan Alley harmonic patterns that jazz piano relied on until Cecil Taylor and other like minded pianists declared otherwise Shipp works that vein with a sense of structured classicism Some of this work has a dramatic foreboding Uncreated Light begins with alternation between dark low clusters and pretty high chords Shipp lets his left hand figures ring with overtones the sustain suggesting music beyond what you can hear A spiraling theme then emerges in his delicate right hand between the thunderous statements from below It s easy to imagine this music accompanying a scene of danger imposing on innocence from a suspense movie perhaps Other songs here are as light as air Angelic Brain Cell is like a post modern minuet a light dance piece

    Original URL path: http://www.matthewshipp.com/press/162-popmatters/162-popmatters.html (2016-02-12)
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  • Matthew Shipp                
    The way he combines and integrates the notes into instinctively measured phrasing takes them through shifting repetitions and non perfunctory rhythm structures presents a grounded elaboration on how his mind more like his soul is shaped He works the entire keyboard building ascending and descending cascades His left hand is magnetized to the darkness of the lower register But his right hand knows the quick treble tremolo single high note and lullaby like melodies Harmonically the music is perfect Of course dissonance falls through the cracks every once in a while The twists and turns are necessary for the elocution of the familiar The music is all original fraught with Shipp isms As a mature painter seems to paint with the same array of strokes from painting to painting so Shipp commandeers his own palette of chords synchronicity juxtapositions dynamic and codas throughout the music scape Piano Sutras is one of a handful of solo albums the first being One The distance between his first and Piano Sutras is vast When One was released in 2005 Shipp was a younger guy beginning to narrow down his field of vision Ironically this field of vision is the cosmos Piano Sutras aligns with that field of vision but with more coherence and paradoxically relaxed detail than in any other solo effort His musical statements are more honed and resultantly richer This mode of development for an artist is not absolutely the way it always goes Some artists can drop off their path believing that anything they do after a certain point in their musical lives is worthy because of their past accomplishments In contrast Shipp possesses an unswerving integrity Way back when his music had unrelenting vitality within fewer frames he was in search of greater landing strips Now it speaks from

    Original URL path: http://www.matthewshipp.com/press/173-paradigm-beauty/173-paradigm-beauty.html (2016-02-12)
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