Monday, May 30 – Matthew Shipp
“Inflammatory.” “Opinionated.” “Controversial.” A lot of times, these are substitute words for “asshole,” and there are plenty of people in the jazz world who would use that last word to describe Matthew Shipp -- people like venerated critic Stanley Crouch (Shipp called him an “Uncle Tom”) or jazz legends Herbie Hancock (“Everything he’s done in the last 20 or 30 years is crap”) and Wayne Shorter (“[He’s] taking food off my table”). But the avant-garde pianist doesn’t just lob grenades for effect. He’s calling out famous artists who play it safe, festivals and bookers who devote 90 percent of their funds and dates to the known quantity and audiences who just want to hear greats do the catchphrase. Shipp, on the other hand, is all about innovation; Jazz Times praised his work’s “harmonic opacity and hypnotic beauty” last year, though noting that his covers of jazz standards can be “witheringly deconstructionist.” Improvisation is where his power becomes apparent. As you might expect from the man who calls Keith Jarrett, Hancock, et al. “nostalgia acts,” he wants a performance to be something created in the moment, so we suggest that jazzers who are still living in the ’60s stay home and alphabetize their Blue Note first pressings. Shipp is a Master Artist-in-Residence at Atlantic Center for the Arts this month -- this show with locals Kris Gruda, Doug Mathews and Michael Welch is part of his outreach -- and no doubt the artists working with him will learn not just the art of improvisation but also the art of provocation. – Jessica Bryce Young (7:30 p.m. at Timucua White House, 2000 S. Summerlin Ave.; free; 407-595-2713, timucua.com)
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