Matthew Shipp

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Matthew Shipp
Matthew Shipp.jpg
Background information
Birth name Matthew Shipp
Born (1960-12-07) December 7, 1960 (age 54)
Origin Wilmington, Delaware, United States
Genres Free jazz, avant-garde jazz, free improvisation, post bop
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Piano
Years active 1987–present
Labels Thirsty Ear, FMP, No More, hatOLOGY
Website Official Website

Matthew Shipp (born December 7, 1960) is an American pianist, composer and bandleader.

Early life[edit]

Shipp was raised in Wilmington, Delaware, and began playing piano at six years old. His mother was a friend of trumpeter Clifford Brown. He was strongly attracted to jazz, but also played in rock groups while in high school. Shipp attended the University of Delaware for one year, then the New England Conservatory of Music, where he studied with saxophonist/composer Joe Maneri. He has cited private lessons with Dennis Sandole (who also taught saxophonist John Coltrane) as being crucial to his development.

Later life and career[edit]

Shipp moved to New York in 1984,[1] and has been very active since the early 1990s, appearing on dozens of albums as a leader, sideman or producer. Before making a living out of his music, he worked in a bookshop as assistant manager. He got fired, he threw some books at his boss, and he decided he wouldn't look for a day job anymore.[2] He was initially most active in free jazz, but has since branched out, notably exploring music that touches on contemporary classical, hip hop and electronica. At the beginning of his career Shipp was stylistically compared to some of his predecessors in the jazz piano pantheon but has since been recognized as a complete stylistic innovator on the piano – with AllMusic referring to his "unique and recognizable style"; and Larry Blumenfeld in Jazziz Magazine referring to Shipp as "stunning in originality." Jazziz Magazine also referred to Shipp's CD 4D as "further proof of his idiosyncratic genius."

Shipp was a long-time member of saxophonist David S. Ware's quartet. He has recorded or performed with many musicians, including William Parker, DJ Spooky, Joe Morris, Daniel Carter, Roscoe Mitchell, Michael Bisio, Whit Dickey, Mat Maneri, Mat Walerian, High Priest and Beans of Antipop Consortium, and El-P.

In February 2011, Shipp released a double-disc album entitled Art of the Improviser. This release is "testament to Shipp's achievements, yet it is also a continuation of the discovery in his developmental musical language."[3] The Chicago Tribune called the project "monumental" and "galvanic as ever."[4]

Shipp has been continuously improving his repertoire from touring the world, writing new compositions and, since 2011, has been collaborating with Barbara Januszkiewicz. Together they are exploring new territory through an avant-garde film called The Composer with Matthew Shipp / Barb Januszkiewicz.

On September 24, 2013 Thirsty Ear Records released a solo piano CD by Shipp called Piano Sutras. Will Layman, writing for PopMatters, described it as:

the kind of record we talk about and play for each other decades later... This is music that frames up a whole history: of an artist, of listeners, of the artists who formed the history of the art form, of the culture and time that allowed this art to flourish.[5]



As leader/co-leader[edit]

As sideman[edit]

With Rob Brown

With Whit Dickey

With El-P

With Joe McPhee

With Roscoe Mitchell

With Jemeel Moondoc

With Joe Morris

With Other Dimensions in Music

With Ivo Perelman

  • Bendito of Santa Cruz (Cadence Jazz, 1996)
  • Cama de Terra (Homestead Records, 1996)
  • The Hour of the Star (Leo, 2011)
  • The Clairvoyant (Leo, 2012)
  • The Gift (Leo, 2012)
  • The Edge (Leo, 2013)
  • The Art of the Duet, Volume One (Leo, 2013)
  • Enigma (Leo, 2013)
  • Serendipity (Leo, 2013)
  • A Violent Dose of Anything (Leo, 2013)
  • Book of Sound (Leo, 2014)
  • The Other Edge (Leo, 2014)

With David S. Ware



  1. ^ "Um café Com... Matthew Shipp". YouTube. Retrieved October 16, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Um café Com... Matthew Shipp". YouTube. Retrieved October 16, 2014. 
  3. ^ Jurek, Thom. "Art of the Improviser." All Music Guide. February 2011.
  4. ^ Reich, Howard. "Matthew Shipp at 50." Chicago Tribune. February 2011.
  5. ^ Layman, Will (September 23, 2013) "Matthew Shipp: Piano Sutras". PopMatters.
  6. ^ "RogueArt, JAZZ label". Retrieved 2013-01-31. 
  7. ^ "RogueArt, JAZZ label". Retrieved 2013-01-31. 
  8. ^ "RogueArt, JAZZ label". Retrieved 2013-01-31. 

Contrapuntal Kaleidoscope Man

External links[edit]