The Squid's Ear Magazine


Shipp, Matthew: Codebreaker [VINYL] (Tao Forms)

A fascinating solo piano record from New York free improvising luminary Matthew Shipp, a contemplative album that surprised even the pianist himself as he thoughtfully dissected harmonics to wring melodic fragments that bring sense to discursive streams of thought, his playing both investigational and charming, drawing an unlikely comparison to Bill Evans.
 

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Matthew Shipp-piano


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Includes download card for full-resolution audio.

UPC: 642623800713

Label: Tao Forms
Catalog ID: TAO 007LP
Squidco Product Code: 31255

Format: LP
Condition: New
Released: 2021
Country: USA
Packaging: Digipack - 3 panel
Recorded at Park West Studios, in Brooklyn, New York, by Jim Clouse.

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"Matthew Shipp takes an introspective turn on his latest solo piano album, continuing to discover new territory for his singular cosmic pianism. Codebreaker encrypts rich harmonies, cloud-like clusters, and the unlikely confluence of Bill Evans and Bud Powell.

Within the voluminous catalogue that pianist Matthew Shipp has created over the last three and a half decades, his solo piano work has charted a unique and compelling pathway for the evolution of the instrument's vocabulary. On his latest album, that path finds Shipp in an uncharacteristically meditative state of mind. Though the language is unmistakably his own, the usual attacks, dense clusters and insistent circularity are more often replaced by harmonic nebulae that luxuriate in the mysterious resonances which Shipp conjures from the keyboard.

"I was actually shocked at how introspective the album was when I listened back to it," Shipp admits." If I try to dissect my motivations, which are not always conscious and which just happen on their own, I see myself really basking in harmony. I'm interested in trying to wring all of the harmonics from the piano that I possibly can, and with that in mind, any set of harmonics has a set of melodic fragments that are implied."

Given that investigative impulse, Shipp himself could be viewed as the Codebreaker of the album's evocative title. There's a wry humor to the name, as Shipp imagines a parallel between a World War II secret agent doggedly racing to crack an enemy cypher and himself sitting at the piano, puzzling over the music's infinite enigmas. But the idea seems profoundly serious when considering the singular sonic vernacular he's coined, making him one of the most distinctive pianists of his generation.

Shipp concedes that his recent landmark birthday may have something to do with the more introspective bent of the new album ("60's not old, but it's definitely not young," he jokes), but it also continues a career-long investigation into the ways that his subversive approach to the piano connects with the instrument's storied lineage. While the likes of Cecil Taylor and Sun Ra have been constant touchstones in critical writings on his work, one name that emerges when listening to Codebreaker, perhaps for the first time in Shipp's discography, is that of Bill Evans.

"It's very abstract and I don't know if listeners will hear it, but I hear a line in my playing that's trying to get into the trajectory that links Bud Powell's piano playing to Bill Evans," Shipp says. "That's not a line you usually draw, but essentially Bill Evans is a Bud Powell-influenced pianist. All people who push notes down on the piano share a language, even though they're all extremely different. I'm trying to dip into that collective mind, but at the same time it's filtered through me and is distinctly my thing. So it's playing with the dichotomy between the universal and the personal in the context of this pyramid where Bud Powell, Bill Evans and, myself somehow, fit together in a modern way." "-Tao Forms

Also available on CD.
Includes download card for full-resolution audio.

Artist Biographies

"Matthew Shipp was born December 7, 1960 in Wilmington, Delaware. He started piano at 5 years old with the regular piano lessons most kids have experienced. He fell in love with jazz at 12 years old. After moving to New York in 1984 he quickly became one of the leading lights in the New York jazz scene. He was a sideman in the David S. Ware quartet and also for Roscoe Mitchell's Note Factory before making the decision to concentrate on his own music.

Mr Shipp has reached the holy grail of jazz in that he possesses a unique style on his instrument that is all of his own- and he's one of the few in jazz that can say so. Mr. Shipp has recorded a lot of albums with many labels but his 2 most enduring relationships have been with two labels. In the 1990s he recorded a number of chamber jazz cds with Hatology, a group of cds that charted a new course for jazz that, to this day, the jazz world has not realized. In the 2000s Mr Shipp has been curator and director of the label Thirsty Ear's "Blue Series" and has also recorded for them. In this collection of recordings he has generated a whole body of work that is visionary, far reaching and many faceted."

-Matthew Shipp Website (http://www.matthewshipp.com/bio.html)
7/10/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.


Track Listing:



SIDE A



1. Codebreaker 4:40

2. Spiderweb 5:12

3. Disc 3:43

4. Code Swing 4:47

5. Letter From the Galaxy 4:56

SIDE B



1. Green Man 3:40

2. Raygun 4:02

3. Suspended 2:19

4. Mystic Motion 3:49

5. Stomp To the Galaxy 3:45

6. The Tunnel 3:27

Related Categories of Interest:


Vinyl Recordings
Physical Releases that include Download Codes
Improvised Music
Jazz
Free Improvisation
NY Downtown & Metropolitan Jazz/Improv
Piano & Keyboards
Solo Artist Recordings

Search for other titles on the label:
Tao Forms.


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