Matthew Shipp CD review [Thirsty Ear]

Music Reviews
Matthew Shipp CD review [Thirsty Ear]
Jan 22, 2002, 20:05

MATTHEW SHIPP Nu Bop/Equilibrium CD

Can't tell if I'm confused or just not into what Shipp is doing here. Always been a massive fan of his playing, but this sudden right turn into rigid styles leaves me cold. Perhaps I chalk it up to the addition of FLAM, a synth player and programmer. He adds the more hip hop and beat oriented flavors, which leaves Shipp on the sidelines at times, fighting for the listeners attention. William Parker's bass work is linear here, but he's not given much room to breathe and stretch out. On a few tracks, the Shipp of old bursts out with splinters of tingling piano—but mostly he seems restrained. A lot of this is resolved on Equilibrium, Kham Jamal's nice vibe work taking the place of prominence and FLAM adds a nice electronic background canvas for others to work off of, not on. It just works better as a whole when the funkiness doesn't seem grafted on; Shipp's playing shines with energy and intelligence and a craftsmanship that makes these songs just sound “smart.” He may be a little less “free” on his jazz these days, but he's still adding more to the genre each time. [Thirsty Ear]

-Les Scurry

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