4D

Matthew Shipp

4D

Since emerging in the late 1980s, the pianist Matthew Shipp has released numerous albums that have found him in a variety of musical settings. He’s put out several solo piano albums, including 2002’s Songs, where he explored standards, and 2006’s One, which presents original material. 2010’s 4D includes both covers and original compositions. The title track displays Shipp’s unique touch — call it lyricism with an edge — and it serves as a fine opener. Like Keith Jarrett or Cecil Taylor, two very different pianists, Shipp clearly draws from modernist European music as well as jazz. “The Crack in the Piano’s Egg” shifts gears a number of times, a fractured gem that's well-titled. About halfway through the album, the listener encounters the first cover, a compelling version of Cole Porter’s “What Is This Thing Called Love” that would not go down easy in a cocktail lounge. The last three tracks intrigue: a straight-ahead (and brief) take on Charles Converse’s “What a Friend We Have in Jesus;” a richly colored original, “Primal Harmonic;” and the traditional “Greensleeves,” which is marked by eruptions of pounding harmonies.

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