Interviews Reviews

Bluefat January Issue

From Bluefat:

Matthew Shipp: A Crack in the Jazz Egg
Well yeah, go ahead and call Matthew Shipp a jazz pianist, because that in a way is precisely what he is. But, good god, he strides far outside whatever done-to-death images that expression is going to conjur, and clearly, clearly it’s time to do a little probing on that score. The NYC-based musician, who’s also worked in several decidedly non-trad jazz collaborative contexts (David S. Ware, El-P, DJ Spooky, the Maneri Ensemble, Spring Heel Jack, Roscoe Mitchell‘s Note Factory, the William Parker Quartet, among numerous varied others), now comes with the latest in a lengthy series of tightrope walks high above craggy chasms… (Read more)

Like a Rainbow in Curved Air: Terry Riley
Along with his former Berkeley classmate La Monte Young, Terry Riley is the big daddy of the school of composing formerly known as Minimalist, and best known for groundbreaking works such as In C (1968), A Rainbow in Curved Air (1969), Persian Surgery Dervishes (1971) and Cadenza on the Night Plain (2006). Riley’s curious path has led him from the outer reaches of modern jazz to Euro serialism/musique concrète/electronics, and has found him drawing deeply as well on “West Coast” ideas of indeterminacy via John Cage and the alternative-tonality worlds of Harry Partch and Lou Harrison. (Read more)

New Moods for Moderns
A conversation with David Harrington of the Kronos Quartet Kronos Quartet founder David Harrington is a native of Portland, Oregon, who grew up in Seattle and founded his ensemble there in 1973. For him, that time and place were crucial in setting the open-eared course of his globe-trotting Kronos, who have carved a unique niche for themselves as the most broad-minded and modernist string quartet in the entire world; their thrillingly eclectic endeavors have found them interpreting works by a vast and disparate range of composers and musicians including Anton Webern, Taraf de Haidouks, Tom Waits, Café Tacuba, John Zorn, Osvaldo Golijov, Harry Partch, Terry Riley and Henryk Gorecki. (Read more)

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Is Avant-Jazz Pianist Matthew Shipp His Own Worst Enemy?

Spinner some of Shipp’s more controversial moments.

The flip side of this confrontational approach is that Matthew Shipp is one of the most talented players of this era. Closing in on 50, he has released a string of dazzling solo and small-group recordings that range sonically from acoustic to electronic remix. His mix of complex improvisation and melody gets easy comparisons to avant-garde pianist Cecil Taylor, but, really, the two don’t have a whole lot in common. He also participated in (for 16 years) and subsequently broke up the David S. Ware Quartet, which has been hailed many times as one of the great quartets of our time. Shipp has also mentored younger or less-known artists by releasing their albums through his Blue Series on Thirsty Ear records and provided a home for other established artists who need to put out records.

Additionally, he was also interviewed recently.

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Go Left Fest Coming to Yoshis san Francisco

Yoshis San Francisco location is hosting a festival featuring free-jazz luminaries. This is the work of their new music director.

“Go Left Fest” Featuring Marshall Allen, Ishmael Reed, Roswell Rudd, Matthew Shipp and more
8pm shows: $40 or buy the $65 two-day package!

celebrating with
Sun Ra Arkestra Leader MARSHALL ALLEN –
Distinguished Author ISHMAEL REED –
BETH CUSTER and more

Yoshi’s Inaugural “Go Left Fest: Where Creative Arts Collide” is intended to showcase some of the most creative and adventurous improvisors, authors and composers “out there.” The festival will feature performances by, among others: legendary 85 year-old Sun Ra Arkestra leader and saxophonist Marshall Allen, noted author Ishmael Reed, pianist Matthew Shipp, trombonist Roswell Rudd, drummer Sunny Murray, pianist Myra Melford-Mark Dresser duo, bassist Joe Morris, clarinetist/saxophonist Beth Custer, saxophonist Oluyemi Thomas and more.

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Mary Halvorson & Jessica Pavone’s Thin Air Released

From Improvised Communications:

Thin Air, the third recording from the duo of guitarist Mary Halvorson and violist Jessica Pavone, is out on Thirsty Ear Recordings’ The Blue Series, curated by Matthew Shipp.

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Free Jazz Blog Reviews

From Free Jazz:

Monday, March 16, 2009
Matthew Shipp & Mark O’Leary – Labyrinth (FMR, 2009) ****½

Saturday, March 14, 2009
Platz Quintet – Live At Internationales Jazz Festival Münster 2007 (Konnex, 2008) ****

Friday, March 13, 2009
Trinity – Breaking The Mold (Clean Feed, 2009) ****

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AMN Picks General

AMN Picks of the Week

Here is where I post, at a frequency of about once a week, a list of the new music that has caught my attention that week. All of the releases listed below I’ve heard for the first time this week and come recommended.

Omar Rodriguez-Lopez – Calibration (2007, free-form rock/fusion/psych)
Omar Rodriguez-Lopez – Absense Makes the Heart Grow Fungus (2008, free-form rock/fusion/psych)
Omar Rodriguez-Lopez – Old Money (2008, free-form rock/fusion/psych)
Bob Ravenscroft – CrossCurrents (2008, jazz)
Black Moth Super Rainbow / The Octopus Project – The House of Apples & Eyeballs (2006, modern rock / improv)
Gustavo Jobim – Piano (2005, solo piano / electronic manipulation)
The Flatlands Collective – Maatjes (2009, free jazz)
The Bad Plus – For All I Care (2009, jazz)
Matthew Shipp – Harmonic Disorder (2009, free jazz)
Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey – Winterwood (2009, jazz)

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Jazz Listings From the New York Times

From the Times:

MICHAEL MUSILLAMI TRIO + 3 (Saturday) Michael Musillami, a guitarist firmly entrenched in the contemporary avant-garde, unveils material from a forthcoming release, featuring not only his working trio but also the trumpeter Ralph Alessi, the multi-reedist Marty Ehrlich and the vibraphonist Matt Moran. At 9 and 10:30 p.m., Cornelia Street Café, 29 Cornelia Street, West Village, (212) 989-9319,; cover, $10, with a one-drink minimum.

SEAN NOONAN (Monday) Mr. Noonan, a drummer and composer drawn to global fusions, celebrates the release of his new album, “Boxing Dreams” (Songlines), with some help from the guitarist Aram Bajakian and the bassist Tim Dahl. At 9:30 p.m., Joe’s Pub, at the Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street, at Astor Place, East Village, (212) 539-8778,; cover, $12 in advance; $15 at the door, with a two-drink minimum. (Chinen)

EIVIND OPSVIK OVERSEAS (Sunday) Eivind Opsvik is a bassist with an experimental streak but also a deep connection to melody, as he demonstrates with this working band, which includes Tony Malaby on tenor saxophone, Jacob Sacks on keyboards and Kenny Wollesen on drums. At 9:30 p.m., 55 Bar, 55 Christopher Street, West Village, (212) 929-9883,; cover, $10. (Chinen)

PETE ROBBINS (Sunday and Thursday) Mr. Robbins, an alto saxophonist, works with two different groups in the coming week, each an outlet for his progressive whims. On Sunday he leads Silent Z, an electro-acoustic band that includes Jesse Neuman on trumpet and electronics, Mike Gamble on guitar, and Tyshawn Sorey on drums. Then on Thursday he teams up with Mr. Sorey and the bassist Mario Pavone for a more freeform trio exchange. Sunday at 8:30 p.m., Cornelia Street Café, 29 Cornelia Street, West Village, (212) 989-9319,; cover, $10, with a one-drink minimum. Thursday at 8 p.m., Dakar Café, 285 Grand Street, Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, (718) 398-8900,; suggested donation, $5. (Chinen)

MATTHEW SHIPP TRIO (Tuesday) “Harmonic Disorder” (Thirsty Ear), an intriguing new album by Matthew Shipp, puts his shape-shifting pianism in contact with a rhythm section consisting of Joe Morris on bass and Whit Dickey on drums. They’re regrouping here to celebrate the album’s release. At 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., Jazz Standard, 116 East 27th Street, Manhattan, (212) 576-2232,; cover, $20.

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New Matthew Shipp Coming Out on Thirsty Ear

avant-garde pianist Matthew Shipp
Image via Wikipedia

From Thirsty Ear Recordings:

Release Date: January 27th, 2009 CD

Matthew Shipp has reached the Holy Grail of jazz, in that he possesses a unique style on his instrument, and he’s one of the few that can claim such an achievement.

He has returned with his Piano Vortex trio (respectively, Whit Dickey on Drums, and Joe Morris on Bass), to deliver HARMONIC DISORDER- a new set of tracks, including two standards : There Will Never Be Another You” and “Someday My Prince Will Come”. The Disc hits shelves January 27, 2009.

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The Squid’s Ear Reviews

Barre Phillips, 2008, moers festival
Image via Wikipedia

From the Squid:

Fennesz – Black Sea
– Max Schaefer

Fred Anderson / Hamid Drake / “Kidd” Jordan / William Parker Fred Anderson / Hamid Drake / “Kidd” Jordan / William Parker – 2 Days in April
– Paul Serralheiro

Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog – Party Intellectuals
(PI Recordings)
– Paul Serralheiro

Matthew Shipp (with Rob Brown and William Parker) Matthew Shipp (with Rob Brown and William Parker) – Magnetism
(Bleu Regard)
– Paul Serralheiro

Barre Phillips and Joelle Leandre Barre Phillips and Joelle Leandre – A L’improviste
(Kadima Collective Recordings)
– Paul Serralheiro

Acid Mothers Temple & The Cosmic Inferno Acid Mothers Temple & The Cosmic Inferno – Pink Lady Lemonade You’re From Outer Space
(Riot Season)
– Kurt Gottschalk

Acid Mothers Temple & The Cosmic Inferno Acid Mothers Temple & The Cosmic Inferno – Journey Into the Cosmic Inferno
(Very Friendly)
– Kurt Gottschalk

Marilyn Crispell and Louis Moholo-Moholo Marilyn Crispell and Louis Moholo-Moholo – Sibanye (we Are One): Duets
– Lloyd Peterson

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Joe McPhee with Trio X and Mikolaj Trzaska at Firehouse 12 in New Haven

Der Saxophonist Joe McPhee beim Konzert mit de...
Image via Wikipedia

Lyn Horton writes about this recent performance.

Firehouse 12
New Haven, Connecticut
October 31, 2008

The wonder of magic is captured in transformation: witnessing how seemingly disparate elements merge and evolve into something greater than its parts with an impact that is unexpected and glistens with beauty. That Joe McPhee so aptly named the combination of Trio X and Mikolaj Trzaska, “Magic,” is evidence of his understanding that out of two separate entities something wonderful could happen, and so it did, at Firehouse 12, on October 31, 2008.

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