Matthew Shipp – “Someday My Prince Will Come”
Let’s try this again.
I featured Matthew Shipp once before. I am aware that he is one of the most difficult musicians I’ve featured. To many, he just sounds like a crazy man, banging away at the keys, especially in that performance. So, in the interest of spreading respect for his unique style, I’ve decided to feature him again, this time playing a song with a recognizable melody, but still in the free jazz realm, which could be an easier entry point for those less comfortable with music this far out.
This is his rendition of “Someday My Prince Will Come,” a tune originally from Walt Disney’s 1937 Snow White, made into a jazz standard first in the 1940s, and immortalized in 1961 as the title track for a classic Miles Davis record. In this cut from his 2009 album Harmonic Disorder, Shipp is heard on piano with a trio of drummer Whit Dickey and bassist Joe Morris. Both Dickey and Morris are as comfortable playing on the outside of the beat and harmony as Shipp himself. While Shipp’s exploitation of harmonic clusters (the disorder of the album’s title), he does return to the tune’s familiar melody at various times throughout the piece. With their abandonment of harmony all four musicians base their improvisations off the song’s melody and rhythm. Listen to how Shipp melodic phrases relate to the source material. More importantly, notice how the dissonant chords and tone clusters relate to the melody (both of the original tune and of the improvisation) itself; therein, lies the key to understanding Matthew Shipp.