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The Matthew Shipp Trio -"Piano Vortex"
Upcoming CD on Thirsty Ear Records

Watching and listening to a solo performance by any musician is a once-in-a-lifetime event. Watching and listening to Matthew Shipp is one event that encapsulates a lifetime.

(Vijay Iyer)CAPTIVATING... an extravagantly gifted new-jazz pianist and a quick-witted composer...
- The New Yorker

Pianist-composer Vijay Iyer brings together a stellar trio of innovative South Asian musicians from the subcontinent and the diaspora, performing on traditional and contemporary instruments, and drawing from a range of traditions to create dynamic and cinematic soundscapes.

Double Feature - Matthew Shipp Trio with the Vijay Iyer Trio

Featuring: Matthew Shipp Trio
Vijay Iyer Trio
TIRTHA : Vijay Iyer - piano & electronics
Prasanna - guitar
Nitin Mitta - tabla

-Matthew Shipp -

No stronger mind-body-spirit nexus exists other than that of meditation. In fact, the essences of all three dissolve into one in the process. The inside becomes the outside, the outside… inside. When that becoming is conscious, peace settles. And we and the universe are indistinguishable.

Meditation can assume many forms. For Matthew Shipp, that meditation is playing the piano. Shipp opened the fall season on September 22 at Firehouse 12 in New Haven, CT in a solo performance.

The space at Firehouse 12 is intimate. It makes the experience of the music inescapable. Shipp’s approach to his instrument is nothing short of direct and intensely human. The theme from Patmos from his solo recording, One, started the concert. The theme set the pace for an hour of masterful display of talent and an extraordinarily mindful grasp of direction. The theme became a comfortable nucleus out of which an organic expansion and contraction of the improvisation could take place.

The proportions of the musical space from the beginning to the end were measurable from the Patmos theme to the Gamma Ray theme (also from One) to exquisite hints of the classic Angel Eyes. These familiar phrases anchored the improvisation. The colorful extemporaneity became the between, the exhaling, the explosive. Shipp’s hands moved broadly through series after series of chords both broken and whole, accented with intermittent striking of shrill notes in the treble end of the keyboard…shrill in comparison to the dark, mysterious and vast resonance emanating from the bass notes, which Shipp treasures for an expressive medium.

Shipp mollified the hugeness of the sound with a quiet restfulness created by repeatedly stroking the keys hand over hand, in two or three note formations, downward from the tops of the keys. The action transitioned to larger and louder configurations. The music simply kept coming, relentlessly. Shipp enunciated every phrase, note, rumble, run, and chord. His eyes were always closed. He cradled his head to his left shoulder. He sat straight and tall, his chin jutting out in assuredness. He stamped his right foot as if overtaken by the paroxysms of rhythmic epiphany.

The nearly Beethoven-like culmination of the first piece arrived almost at its finish. Endless, thunderous repetitions of bass chords codified a supremely intense sonic climax. This is simply how Shipp intends to describe the improvisational enlightenment. Reaching this place becomes a source of his being. The denouement unfolded in as equally a structured mode as the beginning. Shipp’s hands deliberately moved in and out of separate and collected phrases. The second theme ushered in the resolve.

The program concluded with a brief straightforward statement. Echoes of the first piece reverberated. Even though Shipp scattered his fingers over the keys from the very start, his playing resembled a stretching and waking up period after a session of energetic, unsurpassed music.

Watching and listening to a solo performance by any musician is a once-in-a-lifetime event. Watching and listening to Matthew Shipp is one event that encapsulates a lifetime.

-Vijay Iyer-

Dubbed one of the "new stars of jazz" by U.S. News & World Report, and one of "today's most important pianists" by The New Yorker, VIJAY IYER [pronounced "VID-jay EYE-yur"] is a forceful, rhythmically invigorating performer who weds a cutting-edge sensibility to a unique sense for compositional balance. Recently in the Village Voice, Gary Giddins described him as "one of the most original and accomplished young pianists in years... Iyer's percussive yet supple keyboard touch is something to marvel at." An exceptional, forward-thinking composer, Iyer draws from African, Asian, and European musical lineages to create fresh, original music in the American creative tradition. His music strikes you as both emotionally expressive and structurally sophisticated, with exuberant improvisations anchored in cyclical rhythmic structures and ringing harmonies.

In 2003 Iyer received the Alpert Award in the Arts, a prestigious year-long fellowship to support his innovative, compelling work. In 2004 he was named Up & Coming Musician of the Year in the Eighth Annual Jazz Awards. Since 2003 he has consistently ranked near the top of the Downbeat Magazine International Critics' Poll in the categories of Rising Star Pianist, Rising Star Composer, and Rising Star Jazz Artist; in 2006 he won the latter two categories. He also received a 2006 Fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts.

Iyer is signed to a multi-album deal with Savoy Jazz, who released his quartet album Reimagining in May 2005 to rave reviews. It was listed among the best albums of 2005 in ArtForum,, The Village Voice, The Chicago Tribune, and The Chicago Sun-Times. calls it "his strongest effort yet," and All About Jazz hails it as "an organic, austere consistency of vision and accomplishment that's simply stunning." July 2005 also saw the release of Simulated Progress, the new album on Pi Recordings by the collaborative trio Fieldwork, who were recently described as "a jazz power trio for the new century" on NPR's Fresh Air. Simulated Progress appeared in Best-of-2005 lists in The Village Voice and the LA Weekly, and garnered a SESAC Award for topping the college jazz radio charts. In spring 2006, Raw Materials, Iyer's longstanding duo collaboration with saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa, released its self-titled album on Savoy Jazz. All About Jazz called it "a total triumph from beginning to end," and it appeared on Best of 2006 lists in the Village Voice and JazzTimes.