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Matthew Shipp with Allen Lowe, Kevin Ray, Newman, and Taylor Baker

Matthew Shipp was born December 7, 1960 in Wilmington, Delaware. He started piano at 5 years old with the regular piano lessons most kids have experienced. He fell in love with jazz at 12 years old. After moving to New York in 1984 he quickly became one of the leading lights in the New York jazz scene. He was a sideman in the David S. Ware quartet and also for Roscoe Mitchell's Note Factory before making the decision to concentrate on his own music. 

 Mr Shipp has reached the holy grail of jazz in that he possesses a unique style on his instrument that is all of his own- and he's one of the few in jazz that can say so. Mr. Shipp has recorded a lot of albums with many labels but his 2 most enduring relationships have been with two labels. In the 1990s he recorded a number of chamber jazz cds with Hatology, a group of cds that charted a new course for jazz that, to this day, the jazz world has not realized. In the 2000s Mr Shipp has been curator and director of the label Thirsty Ear's "Blue Series" and has also recorded for them. In this collection of recordings he has generated a whole body of work that is visionary, far reaching and many faceted.  

Matthew Shipp is truly one of the leading lights of a new generation of jazz giants.

Historian, composer, and tenor saxophonist Allen Lowe is the rare jazz musician with an overtly literary bent. His output has included a jazz adaptation of the Georg Buchner play Woyzeck (also the source of the Alban Berg opera), a record dedicated to Bertold Brecht, as well as an album-length tribute to Louis Armstrong. His knowledge of jazz is leavened by a more than passing interest in other creative disciplines, especially experimental theatre. Lowe was born and raised in Massapequa, Long Island (a high school classmate was saxophonist/composer Phillip Johnston). In his teens, Lowe played in various jazz and rock bands. He played occasional gigs in while his 20s, without making music his profession. He wrote criticism, organized festivals, and taught jazz history, in addition to working a variety of non-music jobs. In 1983 he dedicated himself to playing his own music, and began composing for and performing with such New York-area musicians such as Roswell Rudd, David Murray, and Doc Cheatham. His Armstrong tribute, Mental Strain at Dawn, was recorded (mostly) live at the Knitting Factory with Lowe's Jack Purvis Memorial Orchestra -- named after a long-forgotten early jazz trumpeter. Lowe's records have been critically acclaimed, but the relatively esoteric and individualistic nature of his music have apparently worked against him from a commercial perspective. Lowe is also a sound restoration specialist; he's done mastering work for Michael Feinstein's radio series on the music of George Gershwin, and for the nine CD set American Pop from Minstrel to Mojo: On Record, 1893-1946 (he also authored the accompanying book). Lowe was also an audio and historical consultant Ken Burns public television documentary, Jazz.

As a young man casting about for direction, critically acclaimed bassist (“able to hear around corners…”, “… a wonder”) Kevin Ray drifted into the New School jazz program, where he became a protege of Reggie Workman’s; a deep relationship that abides to this day. Under Reggie’s tutelage he developed an affinity for adventurous artists such as The Art Ensemble of Chicago, Henry Threadgill, The World Saxophone Quartet, Andrew Cyrille, and others. Supporting himself in the early 90s with a straight gig managing a division at Forbes Publishing, Kevin continued to study and play. Toward the end of the decade, he came into contact with one of his spiritual mentors, Andrew Hill. “Andrew gave me the confidence to be truly serious about becoming a musician,” Ray explains. For ten years he played regularly with Hill and continued to expand his horizons by performing and recording with other outstanding artists such as John Hicks, Bobby Zankel, Oliver Lake, Greg Osby, John Stubblefield, Ray Anderson, Kelvyn Bell, Elliott Sharp, Hamiet Bluiett, Nels Cline, Ursula Oppens, Ken Peplowski, J.D. Allen, and Kalaparusha Maurice McIntyre. He has also performed in the premieres of major works by a wide range of composers, including Lee Hyla, Joe McPhee and Leroy Jenkins. In addition, since 2012, he has been a member, along with Frank Lacy and Andrew Drury, of the collective trio 1032K

Newman Taylor Baker is a drummer best known for Singin' Drums, his exploration of the washboard, and his work with musicians Henry Threadgill, Billy Bang, Henry Grimes, Leroy Jenkins, and Diedre Murray and choreographers Mickey Davidson and Joanne TuckerMr.Baker currently performs in the ensembles of Makoto Kuriya, Jemeel Moondoc, Sylwester Ostrowski, Henrique Prince, Cheryl Pyle and Matthew Shipp, among others.Singin' Drums, his solo drumset project, has also featured collaborations with fellow drummers Horacee Arnold, Steve Berrios, Susie Ibarra. In 2012, Mr. Baker collaborated with his niece, mezzo-soprano Andrea Baker, along with pianist Richard Lewis, on Singin' Drums: Voice and Drum which premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland.Baker released his premiere solo drum recording, Drum Suite Life, on Innova label in 2013.For the past five years, Newman T. Baker has been developing creative music for the washboard. He currently performs as a duo with guitarist Marvin Sewell and has recently launched Washboard XT to explore new musical territory in the quartet and quintet setting. Baker has been performing with the Ebony Hillbillies since 2010.Mr. Baker currently offers clinics and master classes in collaboration with saxophonist Sylwester Ostrowki to music conservatories throughout Poland. With Mickey D and Friends and the Avodah Dance Company, hebrings dance/music residencies and workshops to schools, communities and correctional facilities throughout the U.S.