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Alexander von Schlippenbach: Broomriding

John Eyles By

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Alexander von Schlippenbach: Broomriding Apart from using his Psi label to re-release his old Incus recordings and to put out new recordings of himself in a variety of contexts, Evan Parker is also using the label to release recordings by friends and colleagues, material that might otherwise have been overlooked. So far, the Psi recordings without Parker have all hit the bulls eye— 'Smatter by Gerd Dudek, Dream Sequence by Kenny Wheeler, and now Broomriding.

Of course, Alexander von Schlippenbach and Paul Lovens have been important figures in Parker's own musical life, being the other two thirds of the Schlippenbach trio, one of the longest-lasting and most musically stimulating groups of which Parker is part, as well as key members of the Globe Unity Orchestra and the Berlin Contemporary Jazz Orchestra. The quartet here is comparatively restrained compared to the heights that those ensembles can all scale; the inclusion of bass clarinet and cello gives the music a less declamatory sound than any of them. At times, this is almost chamber improv. However, although the anarchy may be controlled, it is still definitely anarchy.

The recording dates from September 2002, courtesy of DeutchslandRadio, Berlin. The material consists of seven Schlippenbach pieces (the numbered "Broomriding" tracks), two by Tristan Honsinger and two by Eric Dolphy. The Schlippenbach pieces form the backbone of the album, providing a series of concentrated free improvisations that will reveal their merits over years, not months; suffice to say that "Broomriding 4," a brisk-paced piece featuring rapid-fire clarinet, is already a favourite. By contrast to these, the other compositions almost come as light relief.


Track Listing: Broomriding 1; Straight Up and Down; Broomriding 2; Broomriding 3; Poetica; Broomriding 4; Broomriding 5; Attya; Broomriding 6; Broomriding 7; Something Sweet, Something Tender

Personnel: Alexander von Schlippenbach, piano; Rudi Mahall, bass clarinet; Tristan Honsinger, cello; Paul Lovens, drums.

Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Psi | Style: Classical


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