The Conduct Of Jazz (Thirsty Ear)

Matthew Shipp Trio

Released October 23, 2015

DownBeat Four-and-a-Half-Star Review




“Matthew Shipp is the American Piano Jazz Mature Secret” as printed in Norway’s biggest newspaper, Aftenposten. Continuing…”In the shadow of Cecil Taylor and Keith Jarrett, he has played out his individuality through three decades. He can be described as a cross between the two giants, but he exceeds both, with it’s ownership of the blues and the free expression’s inherent possibilities.” Powerful thoughts from afar but strikingly rich in their poignant affirmation of Shipp’s talent. Mr. Shipp is no stranger to recording and no stranger to receiving accolades from the press. But with the release of “The Conduct of Jazz”, one will hear with remarkable clarity that these words are not just prophetic but are exceedingly apt for a player whose time has come.

Track Listing:

1. Instinctive Touch 5:06

2. The Conduct Of Jazz 7:48

3. Ball In Space 6:44

4. Primary Form 4:45

5. Blue Abyss 6:33

6. Stream Of Light 5:24

7. The Bridge Across 12:34


Matthew Shipp: piano

Newman Taylor Baker: drums

Michael Bisio: bass

Recorded May 28, 2015, at Systems Two

Producer: Peter Gordon

Engineer: Mike Marciano

Graphic Design: Amy Bennick

Photography by Anna Yatskevich


Is there any voice in jazz more challenging, confounding and representative of the idiom’s creative possibilities than Matthew Shipp? Though maddening to some and liberating to others, there’s no denying that Shipp’s charging improvisations are meaningful. Following his recent ESPDisk duo release, The Uppercut: Live At Okuden (with reedist Mat Walerian), The Conduct Of Jazz condenses Shipp’s enthralling live trio performances to their essence. It’s nonetheless a dense kernel of creativity that satisfies on multiple levels. Joined by drummer Newman Taylor Baker and bassist Michael Bisio, Shipp mines so many inspired melodic and rhythmic collisions that it’s worth focusing on the individual moments that make up the pianist’s larger compositional landscape: the Monkish delights of the title track, the nightmarish spirals of “Ball And Space,” the expansive trio skirmishes of “Primary Form” —together they form a gateway to higher improvisation that is practically without parallel. Critics more broadminded than I say it is no longer necessary for jazz newbies to appreciate the canon of Armstrong and Ellington before they can enjoy free-jazz, once the interest of a select few. And fans in their 20s and 30s are often as enamored of Flying Lotus and Kendrick Lamar as with Albert Ayler and Karl Berger. Matthew Shipp is the connection between that past, present and future for jazz heads of all jazz ages.

Ken Micallef (DownBeat)