Live from Roulette Intermedium: Matthew Shipp
Live from Roulette Intermedium. Continuing to hone a singular cosmic musical language, Matthew Shipp began celebrating his landmark 60th year on earth with the creation of a new solo piano recording—The Piano Equation—which is also the inaugural release on the brand new Tao Forms label, released on May 1, 2020. The ongoing celebration of this momentous year continues with his solo performance on this evening at Roulette, and broadcast live on Wave Farm Radio WGXC 90.7-FM.
Over more than half of his lifespan, Matthew Shipp has built up an unparalleled body of work and a wholly original musical language that only becomes more hyper-focused and distinctive with the passage of time. Shipp’s abstract eloquence is on vivid display when he is alone at the piano, brilliantly solving his higher-order musical mathematics, approaching each new unknown from unexpected vantage points as in some form of cubist algebra. Shipp builds his solo music in a cellular fashion, formed, like the building blocks of human life, out of disparate elements that combine and evolve in novel and fascinating forms. “There are billions of different human beings on the planet, all constituted with the same genetic material but all completely different,” he says. “All of these pieces can be generated with a different mother/father idea and the basic cellular material can unfold in billions of ways.”
Classical, stride, swing and the avant-garde collide like so many elemental particles, the aftereffects radiating outward in increasingly complex and intricate formations. The scientific, the personal, the political and the fantastic co-exist throughout Shipp’s work, melding in a radical vocabulary which speaks with its own alien yet familiar logic. Fragments of melody coalesce and transform, dissolve or shatter into kaleidoscopic reveries. While some may have used the arrival of such a landmark occasion as their 60th birthday to look backwards, Shipp will spend the year continuing to move resolutely forward, further evolving a voice that is as intimately personal as it is cosmically adventurous.
Matthew Shipp: The Piano Equation was originally scheduled for June 13, 2020, but was postponed and rescheduled due to COVID-19. Roulette’s Fall season will be presented virtually and available for free on a variety of streaming platforms.
With his unique and recognizable style, pianist Matthew Shipp worked and recorded vigorously from the late ’80s onward, creating music in which free jazz and modern classical intertwined. He first became well 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 and leading bassist William Parker – and recording a number of duets with a variety of musicians, from the legendary Roscoe Mitchell to violinist Mat Maneri, the latter another musician who began making a name for himself in the ’90s. Through his range of live and recorded performances and unswerving individual development, Shipp has come to be regarded as a prolific and respected voice in creative music into the new millennium.