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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Fred Van Hove/ Shih-Yang Lee: Galactic Alignment

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Imagine what is was like when man first discovered fire. Fire! How his life changed, his dinner could be cooked, and soon after that (in the history of the universe terms) he was playing video games. Same could be said for the first musician to improvise. Next came New Orleans jazz, which could be documented by the wax cylinders, then shellac, vinyl, and today digital. That sound of American jazz traveled to Europe, and in the 1960s fire was rediscovered with the invention of European free jazz. Pianist Fred Van Hove was there at the genesis, recording the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Fred Van Hove / Peter Jacquemyn / Damon Smith: Burns Longer

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This unique, ad-hoc trio features Belgian master pianist Fred Van Hove, one of the architects of European free improvised music and close collaborator of influential European improvisers such as German reed man Peter Brötzmann, late bassist Peter Kowald, Dutch drummer Han Bennink, fellow countryman and double bassist (and sculptor) Peter Jacquemyn. Both of them rarely recorded in recent years with prolific American double bassist Damon Smith, who initiated this meeting and is influenced by the European approach to free improvisation. The three dense and conversational improvisations were recorded in L'Archiduc art gallery in Brussels on Easter ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Fred Van Hove: Piano Solo

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Belgian pianist Fred Van Hove has always been identified with the European free music movement, but he also stands outside the cadre of players that formed the FMP label. This rerelease (first time on CD) of two solo LPs, Prosper (1981) and Die Letzte (1986), reaffirm his personality and uniqueness as an improvising player. Piano Solo comes as part of the limited edition box FMP im Rückblick--In Retrospect (1969-2010), with its extraordinary 218-page book full of photographs, articles, and a complete FMP discography, plus twelve discs of music. Piano Solo and each disc is also separately available.

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Peter Brtzmann/Fred van Hove/Han Bennink: FMP 130

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22 years hence, these European masters have pretty well cemented themselves in their own corners of the free improv universe: the fury, sometimes restrained, of Peter Brötzmann; the madness of Han Bennink; and the elegant wandering of Fred van Hove. But when they got together in Bremen on February 25, 1973, it was with a sense of discovery, a mutual wide-eyedness that made anything possible.The ten tracks on this 2003 release (originally put out on FMP vinyl) are funny and strange, squalling and even cute. Bennink is still in his play-anything-and-everything mode, credited here with a long list ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Peter Brtzmann/Fred Van Hove/Han Bennink: FMP130

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Until last year you would be hard pressed to get your hands on any historic recording by this European free improv trio. Peter Brötzmann, Han Bennink, and Fred Van Hove originally appeared on the German FMP label in 1970 with Balls, finally reissued last year by Atavistic's Unheard Music Series. They picked up Albert Mangelsdorff for a live recording in 1971, then returned to the studio as a trio in 1973 for this self-titled release, returned to circulation as FMP130.

Each of these three players has a decidedly self-confident, assertive style, and that's what makes the combination work. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Peter Brtzmann/Fred Van Hove/Han Bennink: FMP 130

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Without a doubt, the cooperative consisting of saxophonist Peter Brötzmann, pianist Fred Van Hove and drummer Han Bennink is one of the most celebrated, if not the most influential, free improv trios in Europe. Recorded for FMP three years after the group's astonishing and portentous 1970 debut, Balls, this accurately titled record, known as FMP 130, displays the trio at its apex. It is a resilient document containing compositionally condensed pieces that embrace a startlingly broad scope of textures and moods.

One of the ways that the group proves this is via expanded instrumentation, including Van Hove's celeste,Brötzmann's ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Fred Van Hove: The Complete Vogel Recordings

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Belgian pianist Fred Van Hove is represented on this two-disc reissue of three “rare as hen’s teeth” albums recorded between 1972 and 1974 for the Vogel label. (Note: this material is so rare that the CD set, dubbed from LP, sounds a bit rough at times.) The collection consists of two solo piano performances ( Fred Van Hove and Live At The University ), a duet LP with saxophonist Cel Overberghe ( Een Tweede Vogel ) and a 7 inch single on the MU label.

First off, it is an educational experience to consider Van Hove’s artistry at the early ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Frank Gratkowski - Fred Van Hove - Tony Oxley: GRATHOVOX

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Recorded in Germany, these improvisational giants align their very special talents for what may appear to be a most unusual yet largely gratifying set. The trio commences with an open-ended sequence of interlacing movements on “Tartar.” As the musicians explore microtonal sounds and subliminally constructed mini-themes. Drummer/percussionist Tony Oxley uses his darkly hued cymbals for accents, while pianist Fred Van Hove and multi-reedman Frank Gratkowski implement parallel tonalities. The band occasionally veers off into circularly devised motifs amid manically developed discourses – where they emit a rather otherworldly and somewhat unclassifiable approach. Otherwise, the chamber-like sonic attributes of this disc ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Fred Van Hove: Flux

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Consider the physicality of a Fred Van Hove solo performance. Perhaps the word “physicality” as defined by Merriam-Webster’s “intensely physical orientation: with the predominance of the physical usually at the expense of the mental, spiritual, or social,” doesn’t quite fit. While his solo effort may seem like a 15 round heavyweight fight, it doesn’t neglect the mental, spiritual, or social aspects of creative music. Van Hove, born 1937 in Antwerp has been playing free jazz since the 1960s and solo for the past 30. He was the pianist for the historic Peter Brötzmann record Machine Gun (FMP1968) and can be ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Fred Van Hove: Flux

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This remarkable Belgian pianist has produced two new releases issued on separate labels: “Passing Waves” (see AAJ review Jan. 1998) on NUSCOPE records and this 2 CD “live” set titled “Flux” on Potlatch records. On Disk 1, Van Hove performs a piece called “Derive” which clocks in at 52 minutes. Once again Van Hove performs solo piano and the results are mind-boggling as one would expect. Van Hove utilizes huge muscular block chords to develop extremely complex phrasing while evolving into dialogues with left and right hand as if there were two pianists performing concurrently. Here, Van Hove’s methodical approach ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Fred Van Hove: Passing Waves

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Legendary Belgian free-jazz pianist Fred Van Hove launches the newly formed NUSCOPE label with an extraordinary display of solo piano pieces performed on the Baldwin SD-10 piano. As Mr. Van Hove mentions in the liners “Most of these titles are wordplays or phrases that came to my attention during my trips to the U.S, but I think that they fit the different musical pieces as well”. Fred Van Hove wields his way through a tour-de-force of inspirationally derived tunes that mirror his trip to the United States. The results are simply gratifying and at times mind-boggling.

“In Depth Investigation” as ...



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