Matthew Shipp


The latest release in Thirsty Ear's Blue Series -- a line that seeks to help keep jazz modern by mixing tradition with fresh sensibilities beyond jazz -- is the fourth and finest in the series from its avant-minded curator, pianist Matthew Shipp.

Equilibrium features Shipp in league with his usual rhythm section, bassist William Parker and drummer Gerald Cleaver, plus vibraphonist Khan Jamal and the subtle beats and tones of programmer Chris Flam. As on Shipp's previous Blue Series albums, the tunes here have an ambient allure, even as the underlying musicianship possesses an edgy intensity.

What makes Equilibrium special is the wonderfully atmospheric combination of Shipp's most minimalist playing and Jamal's glowing vibes; the rhythms, too, have a hypnotic sense of groove. Rare among jazz records today, this is sure to be a favorite among critics and a broad swath of record-buyers.

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