About Matthew Shipp
During the past decade, pianist Matt Shipp has become one of the most talked-about figures in Free Jazz. Recording prolifically both as a leader and with the David S. Ware Quartet, he has steadily established himself as an original voice, outgrowing the frequent Cecil Taylor comparisons that were so present early in his career. It's true that his dense harmonies and rolling, where's-the-beat rhythms can resemble Taylor (at least on the surface), and the two have collaborated with some of the same musicians, most notably bassist William Parker; in essence, though, he's a different player. Hints of Bill Evans' impressionism and Andrew Hill's cerebral Post Bop sensibility creep in at points, while his percussively probing low-end fixation seems to come from somewhere else entirely. Pastoral Composure seems to point in yet a different direction: melodic and at times even conventionally swinging in a boppish manner, it also breathes more than some of his past CDs. As such, it's a good introductory point for those who might have gotten claustrophobic with something like Flow of X.