What kind of jazz do they play on KTRU? Matthew Shipp would be a good thumbnail answer. Shipp is known for the abstruse improvisations that are stereotypically attributed to avant-garde improvisation, and he is a longtime sideman to David S. Ware, known to some as the "King of Free Jazz;" simultaneously, he has worked with El-P, DJ Spooky and Henry Rollins, and his investigations on albums like Nu Bop have effectively fused free jazz with funk and hip-hop. In the divide between jazz and "improvised music" (which is not necessarily jazz-based), Shipp falls squarely on the side of the former, and like all free jazz musicians, his playing, though it can be unusual, is intensely musical. Shipp's greatest strength may be his ability to shift rapidly and fluidly between the various harmonic idioms of jazz, from blues to modal to chromatic. He puts this skill to extensive use in his work with drummer Whit Dickey, with whom he has played for nearly two decades, and bassist Joe Morris. The recent collaboration between these three has been quite fruitful, yielding four albums in less than 18 months, including one each with saxophonists Rob Brown and Daniel Carter; the newest, Harmonic Disorder, is due in January.
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