Nu Bop

COMPOSERS: Matthew Shipp
LABELS: Thirsty Ear
PERFORMER: Daniel Carter (sax, fl), Matthew Shipp (p), William Parker (b), Guillermo E Brown (d), Flam (synth, prog)
CATALOGUE NO: THI 57114-2

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Matthew Shipp and bassist William Parker have long been associated with the rigorous mien of saxophonist David S Ware’s jazz that has convincingly built on the legacy of the great Sixties free improvisers.

However, on Ware’s most recent album Corridors and Parallels, Shipp, one of the most admired avant-garde pianists of his generation, used space-age-sounding synthesisers and programmed rhythms. Yet this break with past tradition is now hardly new.

The sound of jazz is changing as musicians such as John Scofield, Herbie Hancock, Medeski Martin & Wood, Dave Douglas, Uri Caine, Evan Parker and a host of European musicians increasingly enrich the sonic palette of jazz with sound of ‘artificial reality’ – samples, programmed sounds and ambient electronic sound washes.

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On Nu-Bop, Shipp returns to acoustic piano, but announces a new direction in his career as his trio plays over sampled drum sounds and electronic programming to create a mixture of hi- and low-tech that is wholly absorbing. Shipp has always possessed the capacity to astonish as well as beguile, and on ‘Rocket Shipp’ and ‘Space Shipp’ he seems to relish responding to new challenges. Stuart Nicholson