Matthew Shipp

Matthew Shipp at Cafe Oto
Drawing by Geoffrey Winston. © 2014. All Rights Reserved.
London Jazz News

Review and five drawings:
Matthew Shipp at Cafe Oto, by Geoff Winston

Shipp's lush amalgam of invention and technical discipline revealed a haunting, personal lyricism. Impulsive and compulsive, he mixed dark themes, laden with thunderous foreboding, with brightly accented figures, each turn revealing the virtuosic evolution of his patterns of thought and expression. The apparent abandon with which he could throw his hands at the keyboard was a smokescreen for his outstandingly imaginative and technically controlled variations - not a superfluous note in sight, not a note out of place.

Although often depicted as a maverick, Shipp lovingly embraces the jazz, modernist classical and popular idioms with an irrepressible curiosity and revealed a deeply ingrained understanding of their roots and structures in his own richly hued explorations.

Early in his second set he stretched over to pluck celeste-like notes from the wires within, and gave a soft-surfaced twist to his rigorous expansions and deconstructions of standards, notably, 'Fly me to the moon' (I think!) which grew in significance each time Shipp returned to its core melody, and others which bore the flavour of the Monk songbook. At one point he seemed poised to break in to boogie-woogie, but the moment passed as he changed direction, never to be second-guessed.


. . . available at Relative Pitch Records


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