Matthew Shipp Trio | Constellation | Jazz | Chicago Reader
This is a past event.
When: Sat., June 29, 9:30 p.m. 2013
Price: $15, $12 in advance
Pianist Matthew Shipp has been especially productive on the recording front lately: he’s worked closely with saxophonist Ivo Perelman on no less than six albums since last year, he’s released a lovely improvised collaboration with British saxophonist John Butcher called At Oto (Fataka), and he plans to put out a contemplative new solo record called Piano Sutras in fall 2013. For this rare Chicago visit, Shipp brings bassist Michael Bisio and drummer Whit Dickey, the same trio that appeared on 2012’s Elastic Aspects (Thirsty Ear)—the pianist’s best album in years. Though Shipp wrote all the music, it’s a decidedly ensemble-oriented project; he doesn’t even play on several pieces, among them the opener, “Alternative Aspects,” where thick, heavy arco lines and muffled cymbal patter create a somber, meditative tone. Shipp’s percussive figures, which include terse but thunderous left-hand stabs, remind me of 50s Cecil Taylor or vintage Andrew Hill, but more often than not he digs into approaches he’s developed himself over the past couple decades—stark, dry gestures dominated by rumbling bass notes, for instance, and exhilarating runs that suddenly pull up short of a logical conclusion. Bisio’s muscular style makes his bowed lines hit like slow-motion roundhouse blows and his pizzicato tangles land like gut punches, while Dickey moves smoothly and intuitively in and out of swing patterns—he skitters busily around the periphery, suggests time without marking it, drops the occasional bomb or flurry, and makes deft, plugged-in commentary. Recurring motifs and composed structures keep the proceedings brisk and sharply focused—and though I expect the band to stretch out live a bit more than they do in these succinct performances, that won’t affect the rapport they display. —Peter Margasak



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