In his unique and recognizable style, New York City pianist Matthew Shipp has performed and recorded vigorously from the late 1980s onward, creating music in which free jazz and modern classical intertwine. His approach to the piano reflects a concentrated blend of Thelonious Monk’s phrasing and the improvised explorations of Cecil Taylor. In 2018 he released a pair of new albums that marked his debut as a leader on ESP-Disk, where he joined forces with Albert Ayler and Don Cherry in the historic label’s longstanding efforts to champion creative music.
Shipp first became well known in the early 1990s as the pianist in the David S. Ware Quartet and Roscoe Mitchell’s Note Factory group. Soon he began leading his own dates, most often including Ware and bassist William Parker. Through his range of live and recorded performances, along with his persistent individual development, Shipp has come to be regarded as a prolific and highly respected voice in avant-garde music and progressive jazz.
In his most recent efforts Mathew Shipp has delved further into the depths of solo performance, and says this about his work: “I’m in a period of reflection on my whole past. And as far as moving ahead into the future, I’m going to just continue to refine my personality as a pianist. I do feel like I’ve done a major body of work in my life and I’m trying not to repeat myself. But I’m really trying to concentrate on the personality of my trio and my solo material, especially what I’m doing with Ivo. That’s where the focus is, and I’d like to age with grace in the way that Ahmad Jamal has; that’s a goal of mine. If I could do that, I’d be very happy.”