Matthew Shipp: Art of the Improviser

Album review
Matthew Shipp: Art of the Improviser

Matthew Shipp

Art of the Improviser

Label: Thirsty Ear
Media: CD
Genre: Jazz

During his long tenure in David Ware’s quartet, Matthew Shipp forged an oceanic, hurricane-force piano sound as personal and authoritative as that of McCoy Tyner, Cecil Taylor, or any other thunderous post-bop and free-jazz pianist you can name. This pair of live CDs—one, a solo New York City club performance; the other, a trio concert in Troy, NY, with bassist Michael Bisio and drummer Whit Dickey—spotlights Shipp’s ability to make himself totally present in the moment, listen to where the music wants to go, and take it there without hesitation. Although he occasionally drops into spare, contemplative ruminations, it’s the way Shipp sprints, cuts, and spins that commands rapt attention. Blocking out heavy chords, rippling through insanely complex but cleanly articulated runs and arpeggios, and plucking strings inside the piano, his hands move both independently and in complete synchronicity. Similarly, he and Bisio and Dickey offer up unique takes on the harmonies and rhythms while linking their imaginations into one vision. You might wish for more immediacy and crispness in the sonics, but the emotional power and musical surprises in these nine original compositions and two interpretations (“Take the A Train” and “Fly Me to the Moon”) transcend the mixes from start to finish. 

More Info

  • primary artist, Matthew Shipp
  • CD

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