Matthew Shipp

Harmonic Disorder
by BLG

This is a marvelous studio date from Matt Shipp's current trio that has been around for the past couple of years, although Matt has been playing with Joe Morris (first on guitar, later on bass) and Whit Dickey for some two decades.

This disc features 14 shorter (all under 7 minutes) tracks, all but two written by Mr. Shipp. The two covers are old school jazz standards, "There Will Never be Another You" and "Someday My Prince Will Come." What is interesting is that although, there are tow standards, the rest of the tunes do have a fine familiar sound. The opening piece, "Gng" has a rather Monk-like sound with a couple of different lines intersecting at the same time. There is something both simple yet captivating about this music that is not so easily explained.

The title track is an explosive freer piece, intense and relatively short. "There Will Never Be Another You" is slow and dreamy and drifts by gracefully, as does "Someday My Prince Will Come," which slowly picks up speed and becomes more cerebral about midway and continues to float until it disappears into the either. On most of these pieces, Matt Shipp sounds as if he has reinvented his playing to become more restrained and less dense.

On "Mr. Jm", the drums lay out and both the piano and bass swirl around one another superbly, completing each other's lines. My favorite piece is called "Mel Chi 1" since it has a most haunting and memorable repeating line that you just can't get out of your head once you hear it. One of the things that makes this disc unique is the way Matt inserts these dark chords inside unexpected places without things ever getting too dense or disturbing. In some ways, this is a piano trio disc that doesn't always sound like what one might expect from a regular "jazz piano trio".

There are a number of odd surprises, subtle twists and turns that make this in a class of its own. The more I listen, the more I dig this wonderful gem. - BLG

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