matthew shipp NuBop (Thirsty Ear) Rating: NNNN
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He traded his piano for a synthesizer on David S. Ware's latest set and played a starring role in Spring Heel Jack's recent fusion of free jazz and electronic music, so perhaps it's not entirely surprising to find pianist Matthew Shipp dabbling in beats on his own NuBop disc. For an electronic record, though, his approach is shockingly organic. While Spring Heel Jack's jarring shakedown was more abstract than beat-oriented, Shipp unabashedly goes straight for the funk, with bassist William Parker plucking out neck-snapping, sample-ready grooves and drummer Guillermo E. Brown mixing broken rhythms with the lurching beats of guest programmer FLAM. Shipp's typically contemplative piano fits in well over top, and for all its prickly edges, the entire project doesn't really feel that different from a standard Matt Shipp record.