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Sunday, August 27, 2023

Our Sunday Interview: Matthew Shipp

Photo by Peter Gannushkin

  1. What is your greatest joy in improvised music?
    The courage to dive into the unknown. Having faith that there is a safety net when deconstructing a musical structure knowing that something beautiful is buried deep within it that can be found out with a further round of abstraction.

  2. What quality do you most admire in the musicians you perform with?
    The ability to listen- to think fast or so fast that you are not thinking -- to have a concept of the sound you want to project -- to be gracious in your use of space -- to meld in with who you are playing with -- overall musicianship.

  3. Which historical musician/composer do you admire the most? If you could resurrect a musician to perform with, who would it be?
    History is a construct. Since time is relative who cares - I admire me.

  4. What would you still like to achieve musically in your life?
    At some point, I will shut the fuck up at the instrument - but till then I seem to have the need to push down notes and chords on a thing they call a piano. I guess I would like to come up with a phrase and or sequence of chords that are so powerful that there is no need to ever play another sequence of notes again.

  5. Are you interested in popular music and - if yes - what music/artist do you particularly like
    Yes, I love pop music - the list is way too long and broad to list.

  6. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
    Nothing, I like who I have become and even the bad things about myself led me to where I am today and I want to be the me that is me.

  7. Which of your albums are you most proud of?
    Wow, I have so many albums that that is a hard question to answer. It also changes all the time. Today, I would say Zero, To Duke, By the Law of Music, The Art of the Improviser, Re-union, but that is today, tomorrow it would be a different answer.

  8. Once an album of yours is released, do you still listen to it? And how often?
    Yes, when the mood hits. I go through periods of reevaluating my work and or seeing what language surfaced in me at different periods.

  9. Which album (from any musician) have you listened to the most in your life?
    Hard to answer - maybe the Genius of Bud Powell, or A Love Supreme, or the Dennis Sandole album on Cadence Records, or Low by David Bowie, or Songs in the Key of Life by Stevie Wonder, or Rite of Spring by Stravinsky.

  10. What are you listening to at the moment?
    Not much, trying to keep a clean mind. Recent listens though are Albert Ayler, Monk, Sal Mosca, Pygmy music, and a lot of 80s dance music.

  11. What artist outside music inspires you?
    The writers who inspire me are endless. The mystics who inspire me are endless. Bruce Lee inspires me. All forms of dance inspire me.

Interview: Matthew Shipp at 60, an Interview

Partial list of reviews of Matthew Shipp (only recordings where is the leader), in no particular order: