Pianist Matthew Shipp playing the piano.
Matthew Shipp Credit: Anna Yatskevich

Matthew Shipp has been making music at a relentless pace since the 1980s. On occasion, the Delaware-born, New York-based pianist has copped a David Bowie move and threatened to retire from recording. But now that he’s reached the age of 60, he’s apparently too busy making new records to talk about quitting. So far in 2021 he’s appeared on seven albums, including a run of virtuosic duo exchanges with drummer Whit Dickey, bassist William Parker, and saxophonists Evan Parker and Ivo Perelman. And he’s not done yet: Dickey’s new imprint, TAO Forms, is set to issue Shipp’s newest solo CD, Codebreaker, before the end of the year. Shipp’s ability to sustain an equally ferocious pace at the keyboard has long made him a favorite accompanist for high-energy saxophonists, but on Codebreaker he’s considerably lightened his touch. This makes it possible to hear the fleet precision and contrapuntal articulation he uses to express his melodic ideas, as well the dense harmonies that make even his quietest passages feel rich with possibility. Since 2014, Shipp has been a repeat participant in the loose jam sessions that Constellation has traditionally hosted over Labor Day weekend, after the Chicago Jazz Festival’s main events. This year there’s no festival and thus no jam sessions, but Shipp’s presence at summer’s end is a comfortingly mooring one.

Matthew Shipp, Sat 8/28, 8:30 PM, Constellation, 3111 N. Western, $20, $25 in advance, 18+. The show will also livestream at Constellation’s YouTube channel, donation requested to view.