After briefly reuniting with his previous threesome for the album Sonic Fiction — on which they were joined by sax and clarinet player Mat Walerian — jazz pianist Matthew Shipp has once again assembled his current trio for their third album, Signature (CD, digital). But it seems the time apart may have done them some good. For while Signature is as solid as the trio’s previous albums, The Conduct Of Jazz and Piano Song, it is a much more varied, and thus more interesting, collection.
Having recorded as a duo (2015’s Live At Okuden), a trio with drummer Hamid Drake (2016’s Live At Okuden), and a trio with bassist William Parker (2017’s This Is Beautiful Because We Are Beautiful People), you’d expect the jazz twosome of pianist Matthew Shipp and clarinetist, saxophonist Mat Walerian to next record a quartet collection, perhaps with Drake and Parker. But while their new album Sonic Fiction (CD, digital), was recorded by four people, it’s not the four you might expect. Credited to the Matthew Shipp Quartet Featuring Mat Walerian, Sonic Fiction features Michael Bisio on double bass and drummer Whit Dickey. In talking to Shipp and Walerian, they discuss why this album is so unexpected, and what else they’re planning, as well as Shipp’s new solo piano collection Zero (CD, digital) and his three-disc boxed set with tenor saxophonist Ivo Perelman, Oneness (CD).