Matthew Shipp’s first recorded solo album, Before the World is about beginnings. The pianist carves out his own distinct sonic territory and vocabulary, employing classical forms and free improv, generating high drama at every turn. The album contains over 70 minutes of music, from taut tunelets to expansive explorations. For Shipp fans, this is a sort of Rosetta Stone, a key to the many of the musical paths he would later follow.
As Willard Jenkins put it in Jazz Times, in 1998: “The deeply thoughtful pianist Matthew Shipp has quickly risen to the rank of keeper of the free improvisation piano flame. This 1995 solo recital was captured in concert in Berlin and amply displays his enormous facility at the keyboard.”