During the past decade, pianist Matt Shipp has become one of the most talked-about figures in Free Jazz. Recording prolifically both as a leader and with the David S. Ware Quartet, he has steadily established himself as an original voice, outgrowing the frequent Cecil Taylor comparisons that were so present early in his career. It's true that his dense harmonies and rolling, where's-the-beat rhythms can resemble Taylor (at least on the surface), and the two have collaborated with some of the same musicians, most notably bassist William Parker; in essence, though, he's a different player. Hints of Bill Evans' impressionism and Andrew Hill's cerebral Post Bop sensibility creep in at points, while his percussively probing low-end fixation seems to come from somewhere else entirely. Pastoral Composure seems to point in yet a different direction: melodic and at times even conventionally swinging in a boppish manner, it also breathes more than some of his past CDs. As such, it's a good introductory point for those who might have gotten claustrophobic with something like Flow of X.
Matthew Shipp Concert Films
Solos: The Jazz Sessions
Runtime: 48 minWith his unique and recognizable style, pianist Matthew Shipp worked and recorded vigorously during the 1990s, creating music in which free jazz and modern classical intertwine. He first became known in the early '90s as the pianist in the David S. Ware Quartet, and soon began leading his own dates - most often including Ware bandmate, leading bassist William Parker - and recording a number of duets with a variety of musicians, from the legendary Roscoe Mitchell to violinist Mat Maneri, who began appearing on recordings in the 1990s. Through his range of live and recorded performances, and unswerving individual development, Shipp came to be regarded as a prolific and respected voice in creative music by the decade's close.
Matthew Shipp Top Tracks
Solos: The Jazz Sessions
Runtime: 1 hr 2 minAn up-close portrayal of Frisell, filmed by Daniel Berman at the Berkeley Church in Toronto. This rare solo session features an intimate look into his electric guitar and looping wizardry, and includes an exclusive interview with Frisell. On the taping of Solos Frisell comments, "It's a weird thing playing solo. I live for the interaction with other musicians."
All The Notes
Runtime: 1 hr 12 minCecil Taylor is the grand master of free jazz piano. All the Notes captures in breezy fashion the unconventional stance of this media-shy modern musical genius, regarded one of the true giants of post-war music. Taylor is first seen musing over Santiago Calatrava's architecture; the pianist's famed eclectic interests extend from soloing, combo and small orchestra work to spoken word performance.
Runtime: 52 minThe Jazz Sessions spotlights Andrew Hill, a great and even groundbreaking composer and pianist. While many of his contemporaries were totally jettisoning the rhythmic and harmonic techniques of bop and hard bop, Hill worked to extend their possibilities; his was a revolution from within. He exhibited a determined command of his materials, however abstract they might sometimes be. His composed melodies were labyrinthine, rhythmically and harmonically complex tunes that exhibit a sophistication born of mastery, not chance or contingency.