New Release Rack: The Matthew Shipp Trio’s “The Root of Things”


The Matthew Shipp Trio: The Root of Things

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.

Four years ago, Shipp’s trio dropped into Troy’s Arts Center of the Capital Region for a concert sponsored by the Sanctuary for Independent Media in conjunction with the multi-media art exhibition, “Freedom Through Collective Improvisation: iEAR Presents! Free Jazz from the Sanctuary.” That concert was recorded, and a year later it was released as half of Shipp’s two-disc set Art of the Improviser on Thirsty Ear Records.

And if your ears have been thirsty for more of the forward-thinking but heartfelt music from the terrific triumvirate of Shipp, Bisio and Dickey, just dig into Root of Things and look no further.

Or better yet, enjoy it live… the Matthew Shipp Trio kicks off the spring concert season at the Sanctuary for Independent Media in Troy at 8pm on Saturday. The concert will serves as the CD release celebration in support of the trio’s adventurous new album, Root of Things, as well as the debut of the Sanctuary’s new nine-foot Baldwin grand piano. Tickets for the concert are $15.

Five Firsts: Michael Bision of the Matthew Shipp Trio
Shipp Shape: Matthew Shipp, Live From Troy
LIVE: The Matthew Shipp Trio @ the Arts Center of the Capital Region, 4/1/10
LIVE: The Matthew Shipp Trio @ the Arts Center of the Capital Region, 4/1/10, Take Two

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  1. michael eck says

    This’ll be great.

  2. Michael Bisio says

    Thank you for the beautiful review and support of tomorrow’s concert at the Sanctuary for Independent Media.

  3. michael eck says

    My gig ran late and I couldn’t get there. I’d love to hear a report on the show.

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