Sunday, December 02, 2007

Shipp Shape

Matthew Shipp Trio @ An Die Musik, Baltimore, MD
December 1, 2007

Matthew Shipp: piano
Joe Morris: bass
Whit Dickey: drums

Once Matthew Shipp sits before a piano he wastes little time attacking the keyboard. In two sets of continuous medley through the Shipp oeuvre he began each simply by plunging into an immediate intensity with his instrument. His unique talent for playing deep within an improvisational energy hooked these thirsty ears with rare immediacy. Soon, Joe Morris and Whit Dickey dove into the sound as a clear augmentation of Shipp's intense sensibility. The interplay between the bass lines from the piano and the mid to high range plucking from the bass made for a dynamic, beautiful sound. Whit Dickey added strokes to the sounding canvas with a percussive flair that kept time propelling forward with barely a nod toward the pulse.

Hearing all acoustic interpretations of Shipp's electronica laced Nu Bop and Harmony and Abyss material was a particular treat as the rhythmic force and odd turns of phrase revealed a creative mind moving the improvised music tradition forward while maintaining deep roots. The thick layers of sound from the drum kit and double bass added a richness and interactivity missing in the electronic takes of this music as the compositional substance came into the foreground. This is an outstanding piano trio.

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