Matthew Shipp & Michael Bisio | Constellation | Jazz | Chicago Reader
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Michael Bisio

Michael Bisio

Peter Gannushkin

When: Sat., Sept. 26, 8:30 p.m. 2015
Price: $20, $18 in advance
Pianist Matthew Shipp has been on a tear of late. It’s not unusual for improvising musicians to release a slew of recordings in any given year, as Shipp has done in 2015, but it’s quite rare for so many of them to be so strong and distinctive. His brand-new Our Lady of the Flowers (Rouge Art)—billed to a quartet called Declared Enemy that features reedist Sabir Mateen, bassist William Parker, and drummer Gerald Cleaver—is a roiling free-jazz effort, but Shipp’s best work has come from his working trio with bassist Michael Bisio and drummer Whit Dickey. Earlier this year that group released To Duke, a program of familiar gems from the Ellington repertoire, peppered with a few complementary originals. On it they tackle tunes like “Satin Doll” and “Take the A Train,” pummeling familiar melodies into flashes of abstraction and transforming elegance into turbulence. Even better is the forthcoming The Conduct of Jazz (Thirsty Ear). Seven terse originals toggle between churning post-Tyner repetition and tightly coiled left-hand fantasias, featuring a rhythm section that toys with the groove, whether with out-of-sync cycles or through surging tangles. The trio is as strong as any group the pianist has led over nearly four decades. Shipp returns to town in a duo with Bisio, who’s a crucial part of his Chamber Ensemble; that group’s more open-ended approach can be heard on the recent 15-part suite The Gospel According to Matthew & Michael (Relative Pitch). The pair deliberately obfuscate the line between composition and improvisation with harrowing results, and you shouldn’t expect anything less tonight.
— Peter Margasak
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