Sign up for our free newsletter
Free D.C. news, delivered to your inbox daily.
If jazz were a church, Wynton Marsalis and his Young Lions protégés would surely represent the orthodox. As the artistic director of jazz at Lincoln Center, the trumpet player has dedicated much of his career to closing the text of America’s most significant music. He’s established a canon of artists, developed a set of procedures for valid performance, and eliminated apocrypha such as Coltrane’s Meditations. Which is all well and fine—it’s a comfortable set of values and a nice night out if you’re looking to kneel down and praise the music of the mid-’60s at the Kennedy Center. Matthew Shipp, on the other hand, would be deeply enmeshed with the gnostic heterodoxy. The improvisational piano player has spent the majority of his life reading deeply into the arcane texts of Cecil Taylor and worshipping the mysteries of the universe via the deep resonation of perfect fifths. Since establishing himself in the downtown New York City improvisers’ community during the late ’80s—among fellow heretic luminaries like William Parker and Susie Ibarra—Shipp has developed an elegant voice that recalls Erik Satie as easily as it does Thelonious Monk. While it may not be traditional, it’s hardly a bunch of noise, and anybody who can’t bear another Catholic rendition of “My Favorite Things” might want to seek enlightenment with Matthew Shipp when he performs with the Jason Hwang Quartet at 8 p.m. at Twins Jazz, 1344 U St. NW. $15 plus a one-drink minimum. (202) 234-0072. (Aaron Leitko)