Something Else! sneak peek: Matthew Shipp – Greatest Hits (2013)

I know what you’re thinking — How the hell can a guy have a Greatest Hits record when I’ve never heard of him??!! Well, that’s what I used to think about Gino Vannelli until…OK, I still think that about Gino Vannelli.

But now I’m here to say, in what has become something of a cliché when speaking of improvised music, that if there was any sort of cultural justice in this world, the name Matthew Shipp would be as familiar as Lady Gaga, Psy, or Justin Beiber.

There is of course, not enough cultural justice to go around. There is, however, an unending supply of musical intrigue. For example, later this month (January 29th), the good folks at Thirsty Ear will release Matthew Shipp’s Greatest Hits, a collection spanning eleven albums spread over a dozen years of a musical career that refuses to be cornered by genre. We have Shipp’s expansive solo piano works as well as the many electro-acoustic configurations that push the boundaries of what jazz can mean. All of the usual Blue Series cohorts will be present, from William Parker to Flam to Gerald Cleaver.

What’s clear is that Matthew Shipp brings a wide musical palette to his work, being just as comfortable with deconstructed piano chords as he is with funky and shifty rhythms. Heck, for all I know, he may even own a Gino Vannelli record (though I’d bet he’s more of a James Brown kinda guy).

Track Listing:

  1. Gesture (from Pastoral Composure)
  2. New Orbit (from New OrbitM
  3. Cohesion (from Equilibrium)
  4. Module (from One)
  5. GNG (from Harmonic Disorder)
  6. New ID (from Harmony and Abyss)
  7. 4D (from 4D)
  8. Stage 10 (from Elastic Aspects)
  9. Nu-Bop (from Nu Bop)
  10. Key Swing (from Piano Vortex)
  11. Elastic Aspects (from Elastic Aspects)
  12. Circular Temple #1 (from Art of the Improviser)

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Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski is a writer and music obsessive based out of the woods of central New Hampshire. A past contributor to Jazz.com, Blogcritics.org and Salon, he writes several weekly features including the Friday Morning Listen, (Cross the) Heartland, WTF! Wednesday, and Sparks Fly on E Street. Follow him on Twitter: @msaleski. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.