Sunday, June 26, 2022

Matthew Shipp Trio - World Construct (ESP-Disk, 2022)

This is the first album in a few years from the Matthew Shipp Trio with Shipp on piano and compositions, Michael Bisio on bass and Newman Taylor-Baker on drums, this album features performances recorded in Brooklyn during April of 2021. This core group has been playing together for years and have no trouble presenting a wide ranging program that moves from accessible mainstream jazz to material that is more free and experimental. "Jazz Posture" is a deep well of up-tempo bass and drums, with Shipp adding urgent sprinkles of notes as the trio builds a taut exciting performance from the ground up. The drums are light and fleet, in constant motion, and the pianist engages with fast flurries of notes and chords. Bass and drums are particularly united here, and Shipp gives them plenty of room to state their case, before he dives back in, and the music becomes a cascade of rhythm and dynamism. Taylor-Baker takes an excellent drum solo, balancing skins and cymbals, which concludes this fine performance. Low end piano chords along side stoic bowed bass and slashing cymbal play open "Abandoned" a track that immediately grabs you, built from towering reverberating piano chords wrapped in a heavy velvet bowed bass and crushing drums. Extreme tention and intensity is developed, leading to an ominous quieter section, throttled down to an unsettling and unresolved end. "A Mysterious State" uses feathery drums, bright piano and bass to create a light and mobile trio section, which balances percussive piano work with staccato drumming and grounding bass work. It has a nervous energy that works well, before the music moves into a more complicated and abstract direction, building in volume and power and creating a majestic sweep back into the original melody for the conclusion. "Stop the World" features open taut bass playing framed by spare piano chords, with the bass and piano playing an exquisite duet where each instrument hangs in space in a delicate dance with the other without artifice, just beauty. The bright mainstream jazz on display through "Sly Glance" should give pause to anyone who says that Shipp's music is inscrutable, with its bright melodic chords, bounding bass and athletic cymbal accents. The music develops organically over four minutes, creating a wonderfully optimistic tune that is desperately needed in these dark times. "World Construct" emerges from a longingly beautiful theme for solo piano, with the bass entering gradually and the long piece gradually evolving with brushed percussion. The intricate trio improvisation gathers pace and volume, the music has a propulsive rhythm that drives it forward while Shipp adds piano accents and improvisational techniques. he plays the piano urgently like a warning signal followed by an avalanche of dark chords and fast notes. This is a wonderful trio record that makes accessible the knottiest music. The musicians are masters of their craft, and deserve praise for creating such valuable music. World Construct -

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