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Biofile Matthew Shipp Interview

By Scoop Malinowski
Status: American avant-garde jazz pianist, composer, and bandleader.

DOB: December 7, 1960 In: Wilmington, Delaware
First Musical Memory:  “My uncle (James) playing a Beethoven piece on piano.”
Music Inspirations:  “Metaphysics and understanding the vibration language behind cosmos.”
Hobbies/Interests:  “Metaphysics, boxing, pro wrestling.”
Last Book Read: “Lampshade by Mark Jacobson.”
Favorite TV Show:  “Buffy The Vampire Slayer.”
Musical Tastes:  “John Butcher, Jazz Corner, Marshall Allen, Sun Ra, John William Coltrane, Antipop Consortium, Marian McPartland, Randy Weston, Clifford Brown, Yusef Lateef, Whit Dickey, David S. Ware, Joe McPhee, Paul Bley, Evan Parker, Scanner with The Post Modern Jazz Quartet, Alice Coltrane, Scanner, Thelonious Monk, New Music Seminar, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Phineas Newborn.”
Favorite Movies:  “Icons Among Us: Jazz In The Present Tense, Brownie Speaks.”
First Job:  “At my uncle’s locksmith shop.”
Current Car:  “No car.”
Pre-performance Feeling:  “Meditative and trance like.”
Favorite Meal:  “Chicken and salad.”
Favorite Ice Cream Flavor:  “Vanilla.”
Childhood Dreams:  “To be a master of whatever I did, in the way that Bruce Lee was.”
Greatest Career Moment:  “Any time I sit down at piano and there is an effortless flow.”
Most Painful Career Moment:  “Jazz is a string of painful career moments.”
Funny Career Memory:  “There are some real freaks that hang around the music who have provided comic relief on many occasions.”
Embarrassing Career Memory:  “In Albuquerque, New Mexico. Walking back on stage once when I the thought audience would keep clapping for an encore – and as I walked on not only were they not still clapping but a lot where leaving.”
Favorite Live Performers:  “Charles Gayle. He brings everything he is to every performance but yet seems to start from scratch and rediscover his music anew, even though there is obviously intense knowledge.”
Last Vacation: “I have never had a vacation – I do not consider visiting in-laws a vacation, for you are on your p’s an q’s [smiles].”
Favorite Quotation:  “‘Nothing is true, everything is permitted” – Hassin I Sabbin.”
Most Memorable Performance:  “Wow, there have been a lot, don’t know if I can pick one out.”
Strangest Performance:  “Once with the David S. Ware quartet, we played at a disco in Italy – there where a lot of high school couples making out on couches and when we would finish a piece they would stop and applaud and then go back to their fooling around.”
Dream Projects:  “Getting out of bed tomorrow morning.”
People/Personality Qualities Most Admired:  “Someone like Osho who shatters every preconception that society has and who spit in the face of every construct and preconception that vulgar society and tradition thrusts upon a person.”

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