Known then as the Music Box Theater, under new management since last June, now restored to its original name, the 90-year-old Loring Theater is bringing an eclectic mix of entertainment--cinema, theater, burlesque, variety acts, and music including jazz--to the Loring Park neighborhood. Last Saturday, Jan. 15, the Dave King Trucking Company played there. And here comes Matthew Shipp.
Dare we hope that that these two engagements--the inventive, Coltrane-meets-Nashville Trucking Company (who flew in Chris Speed) and the provocative, take-no-prisoners Shipp--signal a conscious effort, perhaps even a commitment, to program the edgy and exciting as opposed to the standard and safe?
According to the venue's website, Shipp will perform songs from his latest release, The Art of the Improviser, which won't even be out yet (it's due February 11). This will be a solo piano show. Because we live in an artsy town, it's up against some big guns: John Scofield at the Dakota, Kronos Quartet at the Walker, and area favorites Nathan Hanson, Brian Roessler, and Peter Leggett at the Black Dog, Atlantis Quartet at the Artists' Quarter, and the James Buckley Trio at Maude, among others. So it won't be an easy choice, but it's a choice we wouldn't have had before now.
What's next, Loring Theater? A lot of people would love to see Vijay Iyer play here. Or what about the Vijay Iyer/Craig Taborn duo that played last October at Columbia University? Or Rudresh Mahanthappa's Indo-Pak Coalition. Or the trio Fly. Or Fat Kid Wednesdays, now that the Clown is just another basement. I understand you can't be a full-time jazz venue--it seems that nobody can these days--but something fresh once a month would be awesome.