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Matthew Shipp: The Conduct of Jazz

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As Matthew Shipp albums go, this is almost mainstream jazz. The forcefully individualistic pianist’s new disc, The Conduct of Jazz, is the first by his new trio with bassist Michael Bisio and drummer Newman Taylor Baker. It’s a reset for Shipp, who has always operated with disregard for popular acceptance. Yet, while this record is as close to radio-playable as any Shipp has previously produced, it is also indelibly his. Shipp’s aesthetic-challenging compositions, powerful delivery-could never be mistaken for anyone else’s.

Bisio, with whom Shipp has collaborated before, is an understated presence-walking, swinging and providing unexpected counterpoint but never vying for attention, even in a solo. On drums, Baker has a lighter touch than some of Shipp’s prior cohorts, with perhaps more swing, and he’s often content to suggest a rhythm rather than play one outright. As for Shipp, he is at this point a fully developed artist, both drawing on his own influences and providing influence for others.

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