Saturday, October 12, 2019

Matthew Shipp - Invisible Light: Live Sao Paulo ((ezz-thetics, 2019)

Pianist Matthew Shipp was recorded in a solo setting live at the 2016 Jazz at the Factory Festival in Sao Paulo, and he sounds very inspired, playing with a great deal of fire and agility. The music is a mix of original compositions and a few standards that have been completely re-arranged for this performance. The opening track “Symbol Systems” has a fascinating loud and soft dynamic tension, with fast and fluid stark sounding chords being hit hard, giving the music a relentless push to the edge. The concert is played without breaks and the music comes like a breathless rush with “Angel Eyes” adding lighter passages to the overall narrative flow, and using more space in between the fast run of notes. “Whole Movement” features heavy low-end percussive chords rumbling and sustaining their sound balanced by light and almost delicate high-end flourishes. This is the contrast at the core of the music that provides the fuel as does the almost orchestral use of the entire length of the piano. The standard “On Green Dolphin Street” is anchored by more thunderous low-end depth charges and lighter touches that create a dynamic juxtaposition that can be jarring. “There Will Never Be Another You” has bounding sounds from everything in reach as fast, racing lines of piano send notes forth in rolling waves, with the touch and feel of the instrument seeming just right, and completely dialed in. The epic performance “Blue in Orion” is almost twice as long as any other track from this concert and makes use of the extra space and time by playing long graceful medium tempo tones that have a beautiful crystalline sound and structure. The music is patient and reserved, gradually unfolding to build in more development like darker and moodier chords which brilliantly mix the power of Shipp’s left hand with the dexterity of his right. The remainder of the album consists of short capsule performances beginning with “Yesterdays” where he is powering though the beginning and then letting up into a series of bounding and descending chords. “Gamma Ray” feints with a light and almost bouncy opening before the percussive resonating takes over only to lead us to the concluding track, “Summertime,” which kneads and pulls at the familiar song, offering a hint of the melody before stripping it for parts. This was an excellent concert, with Shipp offering his unique take on a few standards and his own original compositions, and his fresh and bold technique on the piano, while the music was very well recorded and rewards careful listening. Invisible Light: Live in Sao Paulo - Squidco

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