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Thread: Matthew Shipp

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    AAJ's Barrel Roller xricci's Avatar
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    Meet Matthew Shipp



    With his unique and recognizable style, pianist Matthew Shipp worked and recorded vigorously during the 1990s, creating music in which free jazz and modern classical intertwine. He first became known in the early '90s as the pianist in the David S. Ware Quartet, and soon began leading his own dates most often including Ware bandmate, leading bassist William Parker ‹ and recording a number of duets with a variety of musicians, from the legendary Roscoe Mitchell to violinist Mat Maneri, who began appearing on recordings in the 1990s. Through his range of live and recorded performances, and unswerving individual development, Shipp came to be regarded as a prolific and respected voice in creative music by the decade's close.

    Born in the 1960s and raised in Wilmington, DE, Matthew Shipp grew up around '50s jazz recordings. He began playing piano at the young age of five, and decided to focus on jazz by the time he was 12. Shipp played on a Fender Rhodes in rock bands while privately devouring recordings by a variety of jazz players. His first mentor was a man in his hometown named Sunyata, who had an enthusiasm for a variety of studies in addition to music. Shipp later studied music theory and improvisation under Clifford Brown's teacher Robert "Boisey" Lawrey, as well as classical piano and bass clarinet for the school band. After one year at the University of Delaware, Shipp left and took lessons with Dennis Sandole for a short time, after which he attended the New England Conservatory of Music for two years.

    Shipp moved to N.Y.C. in 1984 and soon met bassist William Parker, among others. Both were playing with tenor saxophonist Ware by 1989, and debuted as a recording artist in a duo with alto player Rob Brown. Shipp married singer Delia Scaife around 1990. He then went on to lead his own trio with Parker and drummers Whit Dickey and Susie Ibarra. Shipp has led dates for a number of labels, including FMP, No More, Eremite, Thirsty Ear, Silkheart, and more. In 2000, Shipp began acting as curator for Thirsty Ear's Blue Series. This excellent series hosted a number of Shipp's own recordings, as well as the recordings of William Parker, Tim Berne, Roy Campbell, Craig Taborn, Spring Heel Jack, and Mat Maneri. The following year saw the release of Nu Bop, an exploration into traditional jazz.

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    AAJ's Barrel Roller xricci's Avatar
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    Equilibrium
    Thirsty Ear
    2003

    Website: http://www.matthewshipp.com

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    AAJ's Barrel Roller xricci's Avatar
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    Have a question for Matthew or a comment about his music? Please post it here.

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    Hi Matt. Some people have observed that you seem to have a certain McCoy Tyner influence, especially in the context of the Ware quartet when you guys would play some of the more epic/cosmic type themes. Is McCoy someone you've actually checked out a lot?

    Also, what do you consider some of McCoy's "out"er moments? I think his playing on "Smitty's Place" from Expansions is pretty adventurous for him. Have you heard that?

    One last thing = what do you think of James Hurt's playing?
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    tulip or turnip? shawn·m's Avatar
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    Matthew, first let me say thanks for coming ’round these parts.

    I read an interview where you said you were planning on recording less. Perhaps it’s my non-musician naiveté speaking, but I’m wondering what’s to be gained by intentionally curtailing your activity?

    By the way, I just finished listening to Ware’s Freedom Suite again. What a marvel of intensity and feeling! The interaction between you and David is endlessly fascinating. Was this something that came from hammering out differences over time, or was it the result of natural chemistry?

    Here’s to hoping you don’t plan on curtailing your recordings with David!

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    Registered User nkipa's Avatar
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    Matthew,
    Welcome. It's great to have such a fantastic musician here. I'm a big fan and have most of your stuff as well as David S. Ware's. I really enjoy Multiplication Table, Pastoral Composure, and New Orbit.

    Obviously you've played with William Parker a lot, and William Parker has played with Hamid Drake a lot. My collection isn't complete, but I don't have anything with you and Hamid. Have you recorded together, and if not, do you plan to or would you like to?

    Also, I think your work running the Thirsty Ear Blue Series has been terrific. I know there's a Craig Taborn on the way. What else can we expect?

    Thanks and keep up the great work.

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    I just wanted to thank him for his excellent music - and for his work with Thirsty Ear. With the latter, he's really making a difference, and contributing - sometimes by just opening the door. You have got to applaud that.

    I also want to thank him for challenging my music ears. I don't always "get" what I hear, and I have to come back time and again to drag something out. Invariably, I do, and I'm glad I made the effort.

    So thanks a bundle, and keep it up.

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    AAJ's Birdologist clifton's Avatar
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    Matthew: welcome. Here are my questions.
    1) With Ware on "Corridors And Parallels" (excellent CD) how much of the programming by you and Guillermo was done in real time as the musicians played? How much, before or after the session?
    2)When you work with FLAM on your own dates, does he work in real time? Do you have a preference as to when the programming comes in?
    3)When you are improvising, how far ahead do you think? For example, when I used to play, my mind was always a phrase or two ahead of what I actually played. If a played a double-time run at a medium tempo, I might think, held tone, then riff. Very quickly, of course. Can you quantify your own improvising thought process?
    Thanking you in advance.

  9. #9
    AAJ's Barrel Roller xricci's Avatar
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    I'm posting this on behalf of Matthew...

    McCoy Tyner is a hugh influence on me. I love the way he africanized the piano with his comping in the coltrane group and i love the sound he gets out of the piano- a result of his touch and choice of voicings-i also see him as a very interesting extension of bud powell and an interesting extension of a philadelphia sound which means a lot to me coming from Wilmington, delaware about 20 minutes away from phila. McCoy might possibly be the biggest influence on me even though i attempt to stay away from his specific devices.

    I don’t know James Hurt even though ive heard good things about him- if i recall i think he was part of the scene at the club smalls-i also recall rashid ali mentioning him to me-i think james played in a group of rashids.

    As far as whats gained from a recording artist who has ideas to want to slow down in the process of recording the answer is nothing is gained. the decision to want to slow down or stop comes from a complex of fellings.

    1. i might not have more to say- one day i might go in the studio and feel i am repeating myself.

    2. i sometimes feel if you keep putting out cds you will be taken for granted so the tape can keep running but as far as releasing all the material it can wait- the problem with this is once you record something you tend to get excited about it and think someone will want to hear it and you will tend to want to put it out.

    3. sometimes the business person inside of you overtakes the artist in you and you start thinking in terms of how many cds of yours can the market sustain.

    As far as the dialogue between myself and David s ware on the freedom suite or any other cd the interaction is both natural chemistry and has deepened over the years. I remember the first session i did with david he looked at me after the session and said i think we have been acquainted. what is interesting is as a teenager i always had a fantasy of playing with some modern tenor player who had a big sound- the form this fantasy took as a kid was dreaming about playing with pharoah sanders- but in reality the dream took on a whole other form- playing with david.

    Hamid Drake once subbed for Guillermo on one ware tour in italy- this material was recorded and there is a possibility that it might come out on a live box on thirsty ear- a live box of different ware sets with different drummers who have played with the group over the years- this is not definite just a strong possibility now.

    The new Craig Taborn is coming out in April and it should blow peoples minds- it is Craigs own very unique form of jazztronica- and he synthesies some elements that i have never even considered - it is a very unique cd and i am looking foward to see how people react to it- craig is an amazing talent and his name should be up there with every one elses in the polls.

    On corriders and parrelles most of the settings where chosen by ware- its his synth- he went out and bought it before the session

    On my own cds flam is not used in real time- he is the recording engineer during the session and does his thing during post production but we leave all the real time playing for the jazz musicians because thats what they do.

    As far as the thought process when improvising and how far in advanced that is a loaded question that we could write books about - i try not to think when playing- but i always seem to know some of the possibilities with upcoming phrases etc- but i tend to be a very emotional person and whatever i am feeling seems to be more apparent to my though process when playing.

    thanks
    matthew shipp

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    AAJ's Birdologist clifton's Avatar
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    Matthew and Mike, thanks for this.

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    Thanks Matt. Just a quick follow-up: did you once play in a way that used McCoy's specific devices? I'm curious if you went through the same kind of emulation process that many straight-ahead musicians do or if you more or less bypassed that.
    Support improvised music in the state of confusion. www.iceboxshows.com

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    tulip or turnip? shawn·m's Avatar
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    Matthew, what you said about recording frequency makes a lot of sense. Nobody can afford being taken for granted. With all the recordings out there and more arriving every day, I know it’s not possible for me to keep current on all the musicians I’m interested in. Good points, and thanks.

    Here’s to hoping Thirsty Ear releases the box. The combination of live recordings plus different drummers (and how the band’s sound must change) really whets the appetite! I’ll keep an eye out for that.

  13. #13
    AAJ's Barrel Roller xricci's Avatar
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    re: style

    posted for Matthew on 3/1...

    my current style fell together for me when i was around 23- before that i had a style of that was somewhere between McCoy tyner- Bill Evans and Bud Powell- with a little Monk thrown in- but i always in the back of my mind was looking for the day that my own style just fell together and somehow that happened at 23.

    --matthew

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    Are there any plans for more hip-hop collabs like the Anti-Pop record? I really like that record, and thought that a lot of it was very successful (esp. bringing the live drums in and out, overdubbing percussion, having the live musicians both holding it down and filling in at times). I would love to see it taken farther though, and it would be amazing if hip-hop producers like the Neptunes (who are no strangers to live instrumentation) or Timbaland (who's said he's bored with the current state of hip-hop production) would be down.

    (Btw, I can't wait to hear that Craig Taborn record, especially after seeing that Dave King is on it!)

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    Corridors & Parallels

    regarding clifton's question:
    1) With Ware on "Corridors And Parallels" (excellent CD) how much of the programming by you and Guillermo was done in real time as the musicians played? How much, before or after the session?

    and further to Matthew's reply:
    On corriders and parrelles most of the settings where chosen by ware- its his synth- he went out and bought it before the session

    >>>

    Good question. And to the AAJ.com folks: direct with artists is great forum.

    Yes true I believe too, an excellent CD; listening to it again now as I reply! A lot of fun (I remember Matt gleefully smiling a lot during some of these pieces), and quite deep as well.

    ALL of the music was recorded live in the studio; as you hear it on the album. Which makes it, I think, all the more remarkable. A lot of William Parker's gorgeous arco bass work on this album - wow; yeah.

    All of the synth settings were chosen by David prior to the session, though there were some breaks where Matt was fiddling with different settings, and he might well have played something in like, "bank E:16" or something, that David dug and we went with it for a piece.

    The chimes, shells, and gong you hear are real instruments, and were all sounded by Guillermo.

    "Jazz Fi-Sci" is an Acoustic Jazz Trio vs. Synth piece (think about the final scene in 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind'; Francois Truffaut's character playing the synth being the equivalent of the Acoustic Jazz Trio, and the Alien's music being the Synth -- yeah). "Sumperimposed" is a "trio" with synth-generated rythym track, and Matt playing the additional percussion and whistles via the synth keys.

    Cheers,
    Steven Joerg / AUM Fidelity
    Producer, 'Corridors & Parallels'

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