Monday, February 20, 2017

Alexander von Schlippenbach - 1970 - Payan

Alexander von Schlippenbach 

01. Fuge Für Tante Lilli 2:02
02. Yarrak 3:46
03. Pumpkin 2:32
04. Prelude To A Magic Afternoon Of Miss Yellow Sunshine 5:17
05. Niminy - Piminy 5:20
06. Payan 6:33
07. Lazy June 5:39
08. Aimless 3:20
09. Good Night, George 1:35
10. Kinds Of Weirdness 10:00

Recorded at Studio 70 in Munich on the 4th of February 1972

Alexander von Schlippenbach - solo piano

Recorded in a Munich recording studio six years after the Globe Unity Orchestra was founded the ten tracks, mostly fairly short and comprised of free-jazz icon Schlippenbach’s own compositions, solo piano album Payan begins with a strong sense of the baroque on ‘Fuge Für Tante Lilli’.

‘Yarrak’, following, has a thrillingly aggressive bite to it with rampant bass rhythms and cascading increasingly fracturing right hand flourishes a rush. ‘Pumpkin’ starts the process towards abstraction, at once antique and modern, the nihilism in the free-jazz style so striking. ‘Prelude to a Magic Afternoon of Miss Yellow Sunshine’ continues that process, and if you listen to a lot of Matthew Shipp records these days then this track might well connect with how you identify with Shipp’s sensibility all these years on.

‘Niminy – Piminy’ has a stillness that is quite beautiful, and it’s more about single note melodic development with the chromaticism Schlippenbach thrives on less a feature. Yet the title track ‘Pavan’ has a lot of energy to it, interweaving ideas coming together in the middle of the piano, a surging of pounding momentum that is exhilarating.

On ‘Lazy June’, and there are a few moments apart from this tune, the spirit of Bud Powell descends, it’s easy to feel that this is bare knuckle creativity at work pure and simple. ‘Aimless’, ‘Good Night, George’, and finally ‘Kinds of Weirdness’ are respectively explorative, punishingly violent, and ultimately experimental, Schlippenbach using the innards of the piano latterly for new ever more elaborate sonic discoveries.

It’s extraordinary to think that this album was recorded just three months after Jarrett’s Facing You. Dare yourself to listen to the two albums back to back for further enlightenment.

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