THE MATTHEW SHIPP TRIO
Root of Things
(Relative Pitch Records)
Regardless of the format – solo; with such saxmen as Roscoe Mitchell and David S. Ware; or with his trio of drummer Whit Dickey and Michael Bisio – prolific pianist Matthew Shipp conjures up a brainy brand of jazz. But what sets his work apart from the strict proponents of math-jazz is that Shipp and his bandmates pour their hearts into their playing. It’s passionate stuff – adventurous and often angular, but certainly not inaccessible.
And that comes through loud and clear on Root of Things, slated for release on Tuesday (March 18).
There are a half dozen tunes on the disc, each reflecting moments of eloquence, elegance and experimentation. “Jazz It,” for example, is built on a solid foundation of traditional swing, thanks to Bisio’s walking bass. And that makes it all the more exciting when the threesome reach for the stars and take it all stratospheric. “Path” is Bisio’s showcase, as he takes the lead with a five-minutes-plus unaccompanied bowed bass solo that seamlessly segues into rumbling trio ruminations.