Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Matthew Shipp Trio, Piano Song

Since my move to Cape May I have been struggling to re-establish the bio-rhythms I had absorbed up north as a matter of course. I am getting there, thanks in part to the infinitely helpful presence of some very worthwhile releases, especially one up today.

It is a new one from the ever seminal Matthew Shipp Trio, Piano Song (Thirsty Ear TH157212.2). The latest edition of the trio has had a little time to season and ripen and certainly with this one they stride forward in an ever more confident way and an interplay of great depth and strong horizontal motion.

In short, they swing loosely and freely to raise the bar on what a contemporary piano trio direction consists of, how it can get beyond the accumulated tradition of more than 100 years of recorded jazz piano in an organic way, musico-naturally.

Matthew sounds inspired and relaxed, presenting 12 originals that serve as exemplary pianistic springboards for his three-way dialogues with bassist Michael Bisio and the newest trio member, Newman Taylor Baker on drums.

Bisio remains as always a spontaneously acute second melodic voice in the trio, a bassist with something original to say and the means to say it. His interactions with Matthew's smart-soulful piano declamations make this outing something special and further evolved. Newman Taylor Baker takes in all that his bandmates are doing and replies with both what may be called for and the unexpected, sometimes both at the same time.

And Matthew sounds as authoritative as ever, becoming what he in fact is, a prime carrier of the piano jazz legacy, a great synthesizer and innovator, a critically important voice in the new jazz of today.

This album simmers it all so that what is left is pure essence. No covers, no minimum, just music at a highest pitch, whether introspecting or clambering for the stars.

The Matthew Shipp trio these days is like a train that is ever arriving as it ever departs for destinations not yet known. The three in tandem exemplify what the improvisatory arts are all about when they are in their purest state. There can be no final destination because the track extends outwards into infinity.

Perhaps their very best, this is! So far.

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