Matthew Shipp, Ivo Perelman Discuss Art, Language and Legacy

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Matthew Shipp (left) and Ivo Perelman perform at the Chicago Jazz Festival in August along with William Parker and Bobby Kapp.

(Photo: Mark Sheldon)

IP: I understand what you’re saying, but personally, I was for a while devoted to painting. Right now, I’m experiencing a growth period that I absolutely have to investigate. The only way to do it is to go through the process: record, listen, release, mature the process. So, I still have a lot—be ready. My plan is to do a 365-CD box and document every day.

While that’s fascinating from an art perspective, the market for that is 17 people.

IP: Someone the other day told Matthew he was ruining his career, recording so much. I told him, this isn’t a career, this is a mission. I don’t register this as a valid point of view.

MS: He’s insane.

Are you both thinking about legacy at this point?

MS: I’ll be 58 soon. Parker was dead when he was 34. Coltrane was dead when he was 40. Bruce Lee was dead when he was 32. And those are people who did a lot in a short amount of time. Other than Albert Ayler, some people in the avant-garde did live long lives—Sun Ra, Cecil Taylor. You can’t take that for granted, and you do start thinking, have you done your best work? Or are you going to keep growing?

IP: Not long ago, I realized the gift of life, and how appreciative I am of being alive. I’ve had some health issues, and now I’m 100 percent. I enjoy waking up every day—and grateful for that. The way to give back is to play music the best way I can. I’m very disciplined about practice, very serious about the daily methodical approach to maintaining, learning and growing as a musician. I take it as my duty to give back to the universe the gift I was given—that’s why so many CDs. I want to say thank you many times.

MS: The other thing is, we’re here. You’re not getting tons of major festivals.

IP: I’m not getting shit.

MS: So, your life is the studio. We do tours sometimes, but we’re in a situation where the studio is a place where the music has been able to grow.

IP: It’s a monastic life; I like that. DB

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