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Monday, February 2, 2009

Matthew Shipp - Harmonic Disorder (Thirsty Ear, 2009) ****

With some few odd exceptions, Matthew Shipp's music has a constant high quality, whether it is in a broader jazz with horns environment, with electronics, or in a classic piano trio as on this "Harmonic Disorder". He is accompanied by two musicians with whom he has performed very often over the past decades, and that can be heard : Joe Morris on bass and Whit Dickey on drums. At times, the music can be called postbop, with clear themes, walking bass and fixed rhythmic patterns, but luckily Shipp is inventive enough to steer nicely around the cliffs of predictability, creating short, focused and fresh excursions into the joy of playing the piano. In that sense he is quite Monkish on this album. Don't expect spiritual or expansive moments. This is bluesy, boppish, controlled modern jazz. Except for some tracks such as "Mel Chi 1" and the dark dramatic last track, most pieces are midtempo and upbeat, having intelligent fun with the musical possibilities of tune, rhythm and interplay. The three musicians feel so comfortable in these tight compositions, that the concept of "playing" in its original childlike first meaning is really the best description. Guys having creative and serious fun. And the fun is also mine!

Listen and download from eMusic.

© stef