Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Globe Unity 73 - 1973 - Live in Wuppertal

Globe Unity 73 
Live in Wuppertal 

01. Wolverine Blues 1:21
02. Payan 1:16
03. Bollocks 3:39
04. Yarrak 5:51
05. Bavarian Calypso 3:53
06. Out Of Burton Songbook 4:24
07. Solidaritätslied 1:17
08. Maniacs 22:30

Alto Saxophone, Bagpipes – Peter Bennink
Bass – J. B. Niebergall
Bass Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Alto Saxophone – Peter Brötzmann
Drums – Paul Lovens
Flute, Bass Clarinet, Baritone Saxophone – Michel Pilz
Flute, Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone – Gerd Dudek
Piano – Alex Schlippenbach
Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone – Evan Parker
Trombone – Günter Christmann, Paul Rutherford
Trumpet – Kenny Wheeler, Manfred Schoof
Tuba, Alphorn – Peter Kowald

Recorded March 25, 1973.

One of the earliest large-group endeavors attempted in the European free jazz movement, the Globe Unity Orchestra was founded by German pianist Alexander Von Schlippenbach in 1966, at first for the specific purpose of performing his composition "Globe Unity," which was commissioned for the Berliner Jazztage. Initially, the 19-piece orchestra combined saxophonist Peter Brotzmann's trio and trumpeter Manfred Schoof's quintet with a phalanx of other early giants of European free jazz (mostly from Germany); they included, among many others, trombonist Albert Mangelsdorff, woodwind players Gunter Hampel and Willem Breuker, vibist Karl Berger, bassists Buschi Niebergall and Peter Kowald, and drummers Jaki Liebezeit (of the rock group Can) and Sven-Åke Johansson. The initial performance was a historic and rousingly cacophonous success, and Von Schlippenbach kept the group going, serving as its musical director for most of the next two decades. Naturally, the membership fluctuated quite a bit; by the early '70s, the group had more of a British presence, with players like guitarist Derek Bailey, saxophonist Evan Parker, and trombonists Malcolm Griffiths and Paul Rutherford, plus trumpeter Kenny Wheeler and drummer Han Bennink. Von Schlippenbach left for a bit in 1971, but returned the following year, and the group began playing outside of Germany more often beginning in 1974, which also marked the point at which more of their music was preserved on record (much of it on FMP). As the orchestra evolved, it relied less and less on structured arrangements, eventually becoming completely free. However, since a 20th-anniversary celebration and recording session, the group has mostly been silent.

A beautiful performance by the Globe Unity Orchestra captured at the height of their powers. From the rousing Jelly Roll Morton opener, to the monumental "Maniacs" that brings the roof down, Live in Wuppertal showcases the variety, versatility, and sheer joie de vivre that are the hallmarks of Globe Unity at their finest. John Litweiler called them "the most remarkable assembly of outside jazz talent since the AACM big bands that Muhal Richard Abrams used to lead in Chicago.

Schlippenbach-Quartett - 1977 - At Quartier Latin

At Quartier Latin

01. Black Holes 11:56
02. Three Nails Left: For P.L. 4:12
03. The Hidden Peak I 4:18
04. The Hidden Peak II 8:13
05. The Hidden Peak III 5:23
06. The Hidden Peak IV 5:47
07. The Hidden Peak V 17:01

Bass – Peter Kowald
Drums – Paul Lovens
Piano – Alexander Von Schlippenbach
Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone – Evan Parker

Recording dates:
Tracks 1 & 2 live on 2 February 1975
Tracks 3 to 7 on 27/28 January 1977
all at the Quartier Latin, Berlin

CD is part of the Special Edition FMP im Ruckblick / FMP in Retrospect too

Released as part of the limited edition box FMP im Rückblick—in Retrospect (1969 - 2010), this recording by pianist Alexander von Schlippenbach's Quartet, At Quartier Latin, is an incomparable time capsule that documents a crucial period in European improvisation and the development of today's jazz luminaries.

Available separately from the 12-CD box, this disc brings together two live recordings—originally released as The Hidden Peak (FMP, 1977) and Three Nails Left (FMP, 1975)—featuring Schlippenbach's trio, which was regularly expanded in the 1970s to include bassist Peter Kowald. The most recent re-release by this quartet was Hunting The Snake (Unheard Music Series/Atavistic, 2000).

Schlippenbach began improvising in small ensembles before establishing Globe Unity Orchestra in 1966. But, it has been his work in trio and quartet that has endured for more than forty years. With his collaborators—saxophonist Evan Parker and percussionist Paul Lovens—Schlippenbach has created a model for modern improvising pianists such as Pandelis Karayorgis and Matthew Shipp.

These two recordings document two live, 60-minute sets which were edited for their original release. Piecing together fragments of longer improvisations keeps these nine tracks constantly flowing. Of note here is the genesis of the dynamic nature of the ensemble's energy jazz. They display their ability to create this tension (though not through noise) that is juggled, maintained, and nurtured through the interaction of players. The four keep this musical ball aloft for the duration by adding a pulse or trinkle of notes. Parker's signature extended technique, though not as polished then, acts as a fire-starter. Lovens and Kowald are content to turn on, then off their collective intensities. Likewise, Schlippenbach sits silent in parts, while jumping in others with hammered clusters of notes to power this process.

Schlippenbach Quartet - 2000 - Hunting The Snake

Schlippenbach Quartet 
Hunting The Snake

01. Glen Feshie 20:12
02. Moonbeef 17:18
03. Hunting The Snake 22:58
04. Wenn Wir Kehlkopfspieler Uns Unterhalten 16:25

Bass – Peter Kowald
Drums, Cymbal, Saw – Paul Lovens
Piano – Alexander von Schlippenbach
Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone – Evan Parker

Recorded September 10, 1975, Sendesaal Radio Bremen, Bremen, Germany.
Mastered at AirWave Studios, Chicago, July 2000.

The material on Hunting the Snake -- four lengthy improvisations, each in the 20-minute range -- comes from a live 1975 radio performance but was not released until 2000. It features all three members of the long-running Schlippenbach Trio (pianist Alexander von Schlippenbach, saxophonist Evan Parker, and percussionist Paul Lovens) along with Peter Kowald on bass. The music here is dense, kinetic, atonal, and often harsh, but while not easy listening, this album is not entirely remote or inaccessible, either. The group's playing is very physical and energetic, and though it is recognizably distinct from most American free jazz, the jazz roots are, at this point, still readily discernible. The real interest comes in listening to the quartet's interplay, which is less refined than on some of the Schlippenbach Trio's later work, but which has a certain ragged cohesiveness and charm of its own. Parker's scraping saxophone, Lovens' junk-pile percussion, Kowald's feverish bowing, and Schlippenbach's atonal piano clusters contribute equally to the music's flow -- there isn't a real separation of "lead" vs. "rhythm" instruments during most of the album. Occasionally, however, Parker steps out on his own and lets loose with an extended high-pitched squall, as he does on the standout title track; these abrasive solo moments are especially interesting (or hard to listen to, depending on your take). Its near-80-minute running time is exhausting, but Hunting the Snake is worth tackling in more manageable doses, as it continues to sound daring and alive more than 25 years after its creation.

Schlippenbach Quartet - 1982 - Anticlockwise

Schlippenbach Quartet 

01. Ore 19:44
02. Anticlockwise 17:59

Alexander von Schlippenbach - piano
Evan Parker - soprano and tenor saxophone
Alan Silva - bass
Paul Lovens - drums

Recorded live by Jost Gebers on September 11th, 1982, at the Quartier Latin in Berlin.

The edges of Schlippenbach’s trio/quartet music have gradually feathered over the past dozen years, a process benchmarked by “Anticlockwise”. Evan Parker’s careening tenor prompts a dramatic sweep from the group that echoes Coltrane’s last period, as on Ore; his multiphonic-oriented soprano style elicits a more spiky rapport. The exceptional American bassist Alan Silva makes an intriguing debut with the quartet, his incisive phrasing and nuance-filled arco technique serving as a lynchpin between Schlippenbach’s densities and Loven’s asymmetries

Schlippenbach-Quartett - 1977 - The Hidden Peak

The Hidden Peak

01. The Hidden Peak I
02. The Hidden Peak II
03. The HIdeen Peak III
04. The Hidden Peak IV
05. The Hidden Peak V

Alex Schlippenbach: piano
Paul Lovens: percussion instruments
Peter Kowald: double bass
Evan Parker: soprano and tenor saxophones

Recorded "live" at the Quartier Latin, Berlin, 27 and 28 January 1977.

Born 7 April 1938, Berlin; Piano, composer.

Well known - in improvising circles - for his trio with Evan Parker and Paul Lovens and as constant moving force behind the Globe Unity Orchestra, Alex von Schlippenbach's involvement with the music spans over 30 years and, inevitably, many other associations.

He took piano lessons from the age of eight and studied at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik, Köln, with the composers Bernd Alois Zimmermann and Rudolf Petzold. From 1962 to 1965 he was playing and arranging in a group with Gunter Hampel before moving on to work with Manfred Schoof in his Quintet and Sextett. Members of the Schoof group and Peter Brötzmann's trio crossed paths in the mid-60s and in an eventual joining of the ways, the first version of Globe Unity Orchestra was formed. A number of 'anti-festivals' organised by musicians in 1968 (including one by Alex von Schlippenbach in Köln) eventually led to the formation of the FMP label with Jost Gebers behind the controls and the first records released included Schoof's European Echoes and Schlippenbach's The Living music.

Long standing associations have included a duo with Sven-Ake Johansson and a trio with Evan Parker and Paul Lovens, though wide-ranging interests have led him to be involved in large scale projects such as the Globe Unity Orchestra and the Berlin Contemporary Jazz Orchestra, in addition to small group playing. One of the few European players who considers that the term 'free jazz' is as reasonable as any to describe his playing; quoted by Evan Parker as saying 'Free jazz keeps you young' (50th birthday concert).

If recordings are any indication of a musician's working position, Schlippenbach has stubbornly steered clear of the tendency to produce regular solo piano recordings, somewhat ironically, given what must have been the economic difficultly of keepting Globe Unity on (and off) the road for 20 years. One might have expected that the obstacles to work would force a more financial reality and sense of compromise upon the musician and solo music would have been one way out of this predicament. But to someone with this sense of vision (and community) the idea of long periods devoted to solo work would probably be anathema.

Perhaps the interest in large scale writing and arranging not satisfied through the attenuated life spans of the various Globe Unity groupings found an outlet in other ways. In 1980 he told Cooke that he was 'still busy as a composer for big bands' (and he had already arranged for the Italian RIA big band: Monk unrecorded and Jelly Roll Morton recorded).

Alexander von Schlippenbach - 1977 - Solo Piano

Alexander von Schlippenbach 
Solo Piano

01. Brooks
02. The Onliest - The Lonliest
03. Lhotse

Recorded at FMP-Studio, February 18th to 21st 1977.

Piano, Composed By, Recorded By, Producer, Design – Alexander von Schlippenbach

The reemergence of the German label FMP — if so far only as an archival/reissue imprint — comes as more than welcome news. Among the first round of new issues from this label is a fine set of early solo pieces by the great Alexander von Schlippenbach. The pianist is heard here in a state of youthful, perhaps even desperate, exuberance over the course of four pieces, close to 50 minutes in total.

In his brief liner notes, newly written for this release, von Schlippenbach writes, "I was able to really focus, pushing my playing forward and taking myself right to the edge with regards [to] my improvising capabilities." The four-day recording session in 1977 was undertaken in the basement of a Berlin youth club, where he was able to install his own grand piano. The windowless room became a cocoon for his explorations, and the sense of discovery with which they were made is apparent upon listening today. There's an energy to the playing, one too easily compared to some of Cecil Taylor's solo recordings of the same period, but it's quickly recognizable as von Schlippenbach as well, with knotty melodies and implicit structures.

He continues in his notes that he hopes his "feeling of moving on" comes through to the listener as it did to him listening back 30 years later. Wanting to move might be a bit of a personal aim to come through on record, but the drive that was behind it is more than present.