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Matthew Shipp Trio: To Duke (album review by Christa V.)

This trio consists of Matthew Shipp on piano, Michael Bisio on bass, and Whit Dickey on drums. Here they present their take on seven compositions by Duke Ellington (hence the album’s title) as well as four originals. The result is a fantastic avant-garde jazz album that weaves between familiar chord progressions and new territory extremely easily. The result is a wonderful tribute to a jazz great, but the end result is all Shipp’s own. “In a Sentimental Mood” highlights this divide incredibly well. The piano takes the theme, but the other two start laying down polyrhythms that add complexity and depth to the composition. They eventually swing back to the melody, but it’s after pulling it apart piece by piece and fiddling with it for some time. The bass solo on “I Got it Bad and That Ain’t Good” is wonderfully done, a rapid clip of notes that emerge one after the other. It then segues directly into the fast paced “Take the A Train” making for a really cool transition between the two tunes. Favorite tracks: 2, 4, 5

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