Thursday, December 31, 2009

Matthew Shipp - Nu Bop Live (Rai Trade, 2009)

This was a very exciting album that takes the electronics influenced jazz that pianist and composer Matthew Shipp pioneered earlier in the decade into the live setting. It works very well, accompanied by Daniel Carter palying strong saxophone, Guillermo E. Brown's agile drumming and electronics programming. William Parker is a rock on bass as always, and Shipp's piano is as powerful as it has ever been. The opening "Nu Bop" states its case, with Carter's tart and citrus saxophone wailing over the core trio augmented by electronics. "The Other Side of Anywhere" echoes Sun Ra with the electronics and percussion setting a hypnotic drone that Shipp can dart and weave in and around. The crowning piece is the epic "Nu Abstract" which is simply extraordinary, a massive slab of long form improvisation that takes it's rightful place next to Ra epics like "Atlantis" or "The Magic City." The music moves from moody introspection to full bore free jazz with the collective improvisation of the band aided and abetted by the electronics. Shipp really means "nu bop" as in "new bop" and his goal is to transform the language and feel of Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk into a new setting. He achieves this through a wide open conception to music, partly free, partly composed, where the electronics are just a part of the overall whole. This was a very exciting album of new sounds that are shining a light on the pathway of jazz to come. Nu Bop Live -

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