The following is an excerpt from a recent article I wrote for All About Jazz:
It’s difficult to encapsulate pianist Matthew Shipp’s inimitable musical vision and approach exclusively with words. The elusiveness of his aesthetic stems from its malleability: Shipp retains his unwavering objective of unfettered expression, yet never fully eschews tradition, yielding an unrivaled brand of stirring music. A consummate innovator, Shipp’s singular musical vocabulary has matured and diversified over decades of enterprising music, spanning a multitude of genres and musical ensembles.
2016 was a particularly fruitful year for Shipp, with releases such as Cactus (Northern Spy) with Bobby Kapp and Live at Okuden (ESP-Disk’) with Mat Walerian and Hamid Drake showcasing his versatile contribution to the avant-garde idiom. Continuing this series of releases into 2017, Shipp has reunited with the most recent incarnation (bassist Michael Bisio and drummer Newman Taylor Baker) of his adventurous trio for Piano Song, the follow-up to 2015’s The Conduct of Jazz (Thirsty Ear).