Closing an album with a track titled “When the Curtain Falls on the Jazz Theatre” could be construed as a political statement. For two and a half minutes, low arco bass drones and snare rolls set a mournful mood that climaxes in a wall of thundering chords. If pianist Matthew Shipp didn’t intend to make a statement about the state of jazz, he probably gave himself a chuckle when he dreamed up the title. Until then, Harmonic Disorder doesn’t exactly live up to its name. The 14 tracks occasionally sound conventional, as far as Shipp is concerned. In fact, Shipp reveals a gentle touch on the keys during “Mr. JM,” as he darts between a free fall and an argumentative Bud Powell solo.
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