Before the World

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Before the World
Live album by Matthew Shipp
Released 1997
Recorded June 14 & 15, 1995
Akademie der Künste, Berlin
Genre Jazz
Length 68:24
Label FMP
Producer Jost Gebers
Matthew Shipp chronology
The Flow of X
Before the World
By the Law of Music

Before the World is an album by American jazz pianist Matthew Shipp which was recorded live in 1995 and released on the German FMP label. This was his first recorded solo album, although Symbol Systems was released before.[1]


Shipp was invited to perform a solo concert during the Workshop Freie Musik '95 at The Akademie der Künste, in Berlin. He was informed that the concert would be recorded. A first for him, Shipp was "giddy" with the novelty of the experience, so before he played he conditioned his mind to "sound good for the recording."[2] As he was quoted in the liner notes, "Since this was my first solo concert, to get my hands really accustomed to using the whole piano I actually worked on some things from the classical literature—baroque stuff mostly. That got me thinking in some new directions, and now I really want to work at it."[3]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[4]
The Penguin Guide to Jazz 3/4 stars[5]

In his review for AllMusic, Thom Jurek states "Many of the themes and schematics here reveal themselves as fundamentals of or 'bases' for later works."[4] The JazzTimes review by Willard Jenkins says about Shipp that the concert "displays his enormous facility at the keyboard. From a ripple to a scream, Shipp is quite literally all over the piano, though he never chooses to overwhelm with simple technique just for the sake of illustrating his capacity."[6]

Track listing[edit]

All compositions by Matthew Shipp
  1. "Before #1" – 32:44
  2. "Before #2" – 5:42
  3. "Before #3" – 3:42
  4. "Before #4" – 4:09
  5. "Before #5" – 22:07



  1. ^ Matthew Shipp discography by Rick Lopez
  2. ^ Matthew Shipp: Traversing The Regions Of The Mind by Lyn Horton at All About Jazz
  3. ^ Original Liner Notes by K. Leander Williams
  4. ^ a b Jurek, Thom. Matthew Shipp – Before the World: Review at AllMusic. Retrieved March 14, 2014.
  5. ^ Cook, Richard; Brian Morton (2008). The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD. The Penguin Guide to Jazz (9th ed.). London: Penguin. p. 1293. ISBN 0141034017. 
  6. ^ Before the World review by Willard Jenkins at JazzTimes