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Nu Bop

3.9 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Audio CD, January 22, 2002
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Matthew Shipp's follow-up to the critically acclaimed, #1 CMJ jazz record, "New Orbit". Shipp set out to build a platform of acoustic and electronic rhythm figures to serve as a backdrop fora canvas of organic compositions based on improvisational impulses.

"Matthew Shipp has this cinematic drama because of the way he keeps crunching and jarring the melody."

- Herbie Hancock

For more than a decade, Shipp has broken barriers and genre with his original
style. In Nu Bop, he continues to challenge the limits and preconceptions of
jazz with this explosive, beats-driven modern jazz recording.

Bassist William Parker takes on the unusual role as funk meister. Reedman Daniel Carter turns in soaring performances that seem to defy gravity. And Guillermo E. Brown emerges by driving electronic beats with the best of modern drumming, thereby defining of new era
of percussion. Interwoven into the fabric is Chris
Flam's (DJ Spooky, A Guy Called Gerald) programming insights and deft editing
skills. Throughout it all Shipp is still Shipp.


We've seen many different sides to avant-garde jazz pianist Matthew Shipp, who has more than 20 albums as a leader to his credit. Now the pianist does something radically different, bringing breakbeats and electronic sampling into his downtown jazz world. The sound is a bit uneasy, but that is nothing new for Shipp, whose other efforts also move back and forth between musical friction and musical synchronicity. Nu Bop has both: Shipp's broad, thunderous acoustic piano winds through and bounces off producer Chris Flam's unswerving beats. Live drummer Guillermo E. Brown and bassist William Parker are kept on a tighter leash, but somehow they still manage to make such tracks as "Space Shipp" and the title cut swing. Techno fans may be used to higher production values, but this is truly a Matthew Shipp album with beats. The savvy Shipp also includes a few lovely solo piano pieces here that nicely break things up. --Tad Hendrickson
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 22, 2002)
  • Original Release Date: 2000
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Thirsty Ear
  • ASIN: B00005UWLE
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #402,652 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Matthew Shipp is one of my favorite pianists. Last year's New Orbit was at the top of my list of best CDs of the year, so I had high hopes for this release. The album continues an electronic experiment that he started with David S. Ware on Corridors and Parallels, but unfortunately doesn't come off as well. Marrying Shipps dense percussive style with electronica seems like a no brainer, and on the opening track it is. Unfortunately, the majority of FLAM's programming seems to be an after thought that just gets in the way of Guillermo Brown's masterful funk drumming. One wonders what the likes of a Tom Jenkinson or Mike Paradinas could do with Shipp's compositions. Hopefully, Shipp will go back to the lab and continue experimenting, because despite this rather mixed affair you can see a foreshadowing of great things to come.
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Format: Audio CD
When I heard this album it blew me away. I've been searching a while now for good jazz fused with other styles of music. This disc is an exciting mix that brings an electronica flavor to the music. I give this cd only four stars though for a few reasons. First off, the CD is only 40 minutes long with most tunes lasting about 3 minutes. The other reason is that although the idea Shipp plays with here is a good one, it needs a little more development. The samples used in the first tune are cool but they don't really go anywhere and they are, in my opinion, the only real hip samples on the record. I feel like the other samples used were just kind of thrown together. Another problem which arises with any type of music that is based off of electronics is the limits it puts on spontanaeity. In the first cut there is a section where the drummer, Brown, comes out of a fill a little ahead of the time. In a natural jazz setting this subtle acceleration would hardly be noticed because the other musicians could support it. But the samples can't do that and so it comes out sounding out of time for a few beats. Despite the few shortcomings of this CD, I still suggest it. I feel like Shipp has uncovered something that will have a large influence on future developments of jazz. Just like any other jazz recording though, this album is an experiment. I feel Shipp has a little more experimenting to do and I therefore look forward to seeing what comes next. In the mean time I consider Nu Bop an important stepping stone into a new discovery of music.
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Format: Audio CD
Nu Bop is piano player and composer Matthew Shipp's third album created for the "Blue Series" -- a special collaboration with Thirsty Ear Records (for whom Shipp had already recorded extensively for) that has already produced nearly twenty recordings over three years. He had been a trailblazer throughout the 1990's renaissance in jazz avant-garde, and the Blue Series provided the pianist -- contemplating retirement due to spent creativity - with the opportunity to radically transform himself as a jazz artist, and jazz itself as an entity. The first two Blue Series recordings Pastoral Composure and New Orbit, made with his quartet featuring longtime partner, bassist William Parker, are masterpieces of new jazz. Nu bop continues along this road of exploring jazz as a sonic landscape, while infusing the abstract style with a thicker, urban-esque sensibility. It also finds Shipp incorporating hip-hop beats and electronics for the first time.
Chris Flam (listed as FLAM) joins Shipp's quartet (Parker on bass, Guillermo Brown on drums and Daniel Carter on saxophones and flute) on synths and programming for half the tracks. His production is integrated like another instrument, not simply dropping boom-bops for the musicians to blow jazzy solos over. FLAM's beats are programmed, but the musicians react to them in a similar fashion to Bill Evans reacting to his own recorded piano in Conversations With Myself. There are however, some problems in the mix: while the musicians flow well with FLAM's beats, sometimes they sound constricted. His production skills are also in question, occasionally sounding primitive, even amateurish. The beats you hear on "Space Shipp," while decent enough carry no emotional wallop so that when they are resurrected on "Rocket Shipp," you're left feeling flat.
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Format: Audio CD
With the talented Matthew Shipp you don't know what to expect. His career has been so all-encompassing that I don't know where to begin. His last outing "New Orbit" was quiet, stark, and minimal; with occasional moments of insanity. His tour of that record had all types trying to figure out what he was up to. It was the extremes of Shipp and Parker wild assaults of space to the quietness of percussion and human beats. Through his range of live and recorded performances and unswerving individual development, Shipp came to be regarded as a prolific and respected voice in creative music. He has paid his dues to the past. Now he seems to be creating a new vocabulary for others to build on. He is grabbing our hands and saying "Let's go!"
Born in the 1960's and raised in Wilmington, Delaware, Matthew Shipp grew up listening to 1950's jazz recordings as well as Jimi Hendrix. Putting on "Nu Bop" for the first time may be a shock. Is this a Chemical Brothers track? What is it? Shipp has left jazz behind and entered into a new field. It seems as if the presence of Guillermo E. Brown is a major factor here. It's like taking LSD as a teenager: the world view has changed and all of sudden films like 2001 are now documentaries. Also Chris Flam seems to figure in somewhere. Flam is a wild card in the deck. He is the feldspar in the mine. He is the boxer punching at infinite space. Shipp is opening up the jazz world to the DJ culture and making interesting bridges. He is naked in the in mental space of one thousand plateaus.
Shipp once said: "I am a product of a certain tradition. Obviously so. I come out of a 1960s avant garde jazz tradition. That whole spectrum of McCoy Tyner, Cecil
Taylor, Andrew Hill, Paul Blake...
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