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Music Reviews

Matthew Shipp Trio: “New Concepts In Piano Trio Jazz” Review

 

When it comes to the configurations of jazz groups, trios with a piano player, a bassist, and a drummer are as common as, well, quartets with a saxophonist, and quintets fronted by saxophonists and trumpet players.

It’s why the last thing I need is another common jazz trio.

An uncommon one, however…

This brings me to New Concepts In Piano Trio Jazz (CD, digital), the new and promissory album by the Matthew Shipp Trio. Which, for the record, is comprised of Shipp on piano, Michael Bisio on bass, and Newman Taylor Baker on drums.

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Music Reviews

Ivo Perelman, Matthew Shipp, Jeff Cosgrove: “Live In Carrboro” Review

 

While tenor saxophonist Ivo Perelman and pianist Matthew Shipp are so prolific — both individually and as a duo — that even Prince would’ve told them to chill out, the same cannot oddly be said for the trio they sometimes have with drummer Jeff Cosgrove. In fact, in the six years between releasing the trio’s first album, 2017’s Live In Baltimore, and the new Live In Carrboro (digital), Perelman and Shipp recorded nearly a dozen duo albums together, including (but not limited to) Fruition, Amalgam, and Triptych. And that’s not even counting all the ones they made on their own and with other people. But rather than be offended that he doesn’t get to play with his friends as much as he might like, Messrs. Cosgrove should instead revel in the knowledge that, as displayed on this album, it’s pretty cool when he does.

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Music Reviews

Ivo Perelman & Matthew Shipp’s “Fruition” Review

 

Free jazz-adjacent saxophonist Ivo Perelman and pianist Matthew Shipp are both so prolific that they sometimes don’t give their songs proper titles. On 2020’s Amalgam, for instance, the songs were called “Part 1,” “Part 2,” etc., while the CD in the cleverly titled Special Edition Box had songs titled “Track 1,” “Track 2,” and so on. But now they seem to be fucking with us because while the tunes on their newest (and 18th) album as a duo, Fruition (CD, digital), are also just numbered…those numbers are out of order, and are sometimes higher than the number of tunes. Good thing they’re also really good or I might’ve gotten annoyed.

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Music Reviews

Matthew Shipp Trio’s “World Construct” Review

 

Like his frequent collaborator Ivo Perelman, jazz pianist Matthew Shipp is almost as known for being prolific as he is for being expressive and versatile. In fact, if the website Discogs is accurate, Shipp has appeared on nearly a dozen albums since just the beginning of this decade. And yet, it’s been three long years since he took center stage with his iconic trio, a situation he’s now rectifying with their interesting and rather varied new album World Construct (CD, digital).

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Music Reviews

East Axis’ “Cool With That” Review

 

While many jazz bands take their names from their leaders and number of members — like, for example, The Miles Davis Quintet or The Red Garland Trio — there have been such exceptions as Return To Forever. But pianist Matthew Shipp apparently wants to have it both ways. Not only are the albums he’s made with horn player Mat Walerian credited both ways — their debut, Live At Okuden, was credited to both The Uppercut and the Matthew Shipp Mat Walerian Duo, for instance — but for the cover of Cool With That (CD, digital), the new album by the four-piece jazz band East Axis, he and his bandmates put their names on the cover as well. And yet, regardless of who gets the credit or the cover, Cool has the same kind of enticing free jazz adjacent music Shipp and his bandmates often make.

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Music Reviews

Ivo Perelman, Matthew Shipp: “Special Edition Box” Review

 

They say that keeping things fresh is the key to a good relationship. But that advice doesn’t just apply to romance. Since 1997, jazz saxophonist Ivo Perelman and pianist Matthew Shipp have recorded more than three dozen albums together; some as a duo, some as two-thirds of a trio, and some as half of a quartet, but always with something new in mind.

Now they’ve done something else different with Special Edition Box, a limited-edition boxed set that includes a studio album on CD, a live concert on Blu-ray, and a book on, uh, paper. And while this may be new for them, anyone who’s enjoyed their previous duo albums will find that it’s still them doing what they do so well.

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Music Reviews

Ivo Perelman / Matthew Shipp’s “Amalgam” Review

 

Whether it’s together or with other people, saxophonist Ivo Perelman and pianist Matthew Shipp have always displayed an ability to play different forms of acoustic jazz, be it more traditionally structured, free form, or somewhere in between, and often on the same album. Which is what you get on Amalgam (CD, digital), their latest (but certainly not last) collaboration, and newest collection of duets.

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Music Reviews

Matthew Shipp Trio’s “The Unidentifiable” Review

 

With a career that spans more than 30 years and nearly 70 albums as a leader (and about as a many as a sideman), jazz pianist Matthew Shipp has more than established himself as a singular talent.

So it’s interesting how The Unidentifiable (CD, mp3, wav), his fourth album with his current trio, has moments that recall a certain other prolific piano player’s iconic threesome, albeit while still being very Shipp.

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Music Reviews

Okuden Quartet’s Every Dog Has Its Day But It Doesn’t Matter Because Fat Cat Is Getting Fatter Review

 

With a name like Every Dog Has Its Day But It Doesn’t Matter Because Fat Cat Is Getting Fatter, you might expect the new album by the Okuden Quartet — bass clarinetist / soprano clarinet player / alto saxophonist / flautist Mat Walerian, pianist Matthew Shipp, double bassist / shakuchi player William Parker, and drummer / percussionist Hamid Drake — to be pretentious or silly or a bit too much. Thankfully, the music on Every Dog Has Its Day But It Doesn’t Matter Because Fat Cat Is Getting Fatter (CD, digital) — and yes, I am going to write it out in full every time because SEO — is anything but. Instead, it’s an impressive collection of acoustic jazz that’s both moody and manic, and a worthy successor to the previous albums these four have recorded in various configurations.