Matthew Shipp – Art of the Improviser (2011)

Free improvisation, as a style of music, developed in the U.S. and Europe in the mid and late 1960s, largely as an outgrowth of free jazz and modern classical musics. Pioneers including saxophonists Evan Parker, Anthony Braxton and Peter Bratzmann, guitarist Derek Bailey, and the improvising group AMM. Free jazz is most strongly associated with the 1950s innovations of Ornette Coleman and Cecil Taylor and the later works of saxophonist John Coltrane. Other important pioneers included Charles Mingus, Eric Dolphy, Albert Ayler, Archie Shepp, Joe Maneri and Sun Ra. Although today “free jazz” is the generally-used term, many other terms were used to describe the loosely-defined movement, including “avant-garde”, “energy music” and “The New Thing”.
Matthew Shipp began playing piano at six years old. He was strongly attracted to jazz, but also played in rock groups while in high school. Shipp has been very active since the early 1990s, appearing on dozens of albums as a leader, sideman or producer. He was initially most active in free jazz, but has since branched out, notably exploring music that touches on contemporary classical, hip hop and electronica. He has been a long member of saxophonist David S. Ware’s quartet, but also recorded or performed with many musicians, including William Parker, DJ Spooky, Joe Morris, Daniel Carter, Roscoe Mitchell, Mat Maneri, High Priest and Beans of Antipop Consortium, and El-P. His dense, percussive style is often compared to Cecil Taylor by some critics.

With the release of “The Art Of The Improviser”, he has essentially summed up his first fifty years on two CDs. Shipp presents a solo recording of original compositions and one standard (“Fly Me To The Moon”), but this time adds a second disc with his new trio (since 2009), featuring bassist Michael Bisio and drummer Whit Dickey.
His music is dense and extremely groovy, the first disc presents Shipp’s trio, recorded live in Troy, NY in April, 2010.
The solo CD delivers some inspired, dense and quite dark themes, develop with stunning ingenuity. Shipp’s style is extremely powerful and dynamic, very dense, but alive and sometimes pretty dark, but still sparkling. Breathing, free and colourful music, extremely intense and expressive.

Matthew Shipp – Official Site

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