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About Matthew Shipp and The Art of the Improviser
For the better part of fifty years Matthew Shipp has been on a tireless journey to innovate a musical language that is at once so cerebral, emotional and physical that it becomes universally intelligible. Shipp has aspired to engineer an eclectically unprecedented sound, one capable not only of invigorating the jazz world, but potent enough to reach beyond the traditional bounds of that community and speak to fans who might not be so familiar with the vocabulary of jazz.
On his improvisational mission to create such an ultimate musical language, Shipp's unconventional ways have caused consternation, among some, because he does not neatly fit in the current overall jazz business construct. Turning fifty years old on Dec 7, 2010, however, Matthew Shipp is illustrious. The Art of the Improviser represents the pinnacle of his endeavors as a pianist, composer and band leader. Shipp forges his own path" on this new release and arrives not an inch short of the pantheon inhabited by Monk and Cecil Taylor" (Free Form JazzBrazil).
The Art of the Improviser is Shipp's most audacious attempt yet to answer the enigmatic question of what it means to be a modern jazz musician. Already having explored the possibilities of electronically infused jazz on critically acclaimed projects with the likes of DJ Spooky, Scanner, and Anti-Pop Consortium, Shipp revisits an acoustic sound for this fearless voyage into the psyche of the improviser. Juxtaposing traditional instrumentation with adventurous phrasing and poignant melodies, Shipp continues to challenge musical conventions in a provocative and inspiring way.
The all too familiar labels of experimental, avant-garde jazz cannot begin to describe what Shipp's album has to offer. Although The Art of the Improviser is indeed a jazz album, the project also symbolizes the coalescing of Shipp's diverse musical influences. Artists as far-flung as punk rock great Henry Rollins praise Shipp for being forcefully driven and honestly inspired...the real thing." The content of Shipp's record is not strictly jazz, but rather an unadulterated and inspirited music.
Now at fifty years old, The Art of the Improviser showcases Shipp's eloquence in a musical language that is uniquely his. Shipp's idiosyncratic genius" shines through on this album, explaining once again why he is well on his way to becoming one of the timeless giants of jazz (Jazz-iz, The New Face of Jazz).