4

Fred Van Hove/ Shih-Yang Lee: Galactic Alignment

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
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 pioneering Machine Gun (FMP, 1968) with Peter Brötzmann's Octet and then becoming a driving force in the European improvising scene.

Fast forward to 2012 and the 75 year old pianist travels to Taiwan, a land with almost no tradition of improvised music. And fire is rediscovered again. Galactic Alignment documents a live performance, both solo and in duo with 30 year old Taiwanese pianist Shih-Yang Lee. The young marvel admits he had very few Van Hove recordings to preview, but that certainly is not evident in their musical exchange. Lee leads the improvising quartet Ka Dao Yin that has released Four Characters (NCAA, 2011) and Next (Jazzhus Disk, 2013). The quartet plays a sort of slow motion improvisation with a combination of instruments: the Western piano and saxophone and Chinese sheng and guzheng.

The CD and accompanying DVD document the concert with the first two tracks by Lee, "Improvisation On The Name Of F-R-E-D" and "Repetitive Tics," one by Van Hove "Winter in Motion," then a series of duo performances. Van Hove seems to reinvent fire each time he plays, or at least reimagine its discovery by fusing classical technique with his own. Then the same can be said for Lee. His rapid-fire skipping technique is part wushu, part knuckle/forearm rolling reminiscent of Don Pullen, the great American pianist.

In tandem the pair begin inside the piano. A combination of prepared piano and fluxus performance, "Games Inside Wooden Frames" progresses to the keyboards and the most intimate dialogue. The remarkable confidence in playing is the two pianists' understanding. Viewing the video before immersion into the pure audio may be the preferred approach because this duo is quite unimaginable without witnessing their discovery.

Track Listing: Improvisation On The Name Of F-R-E-D; Repetitive Tics; Winter In Motion; Games Inside Wooden Frames; Continuing Reverse; Encounter; Counterpoint; Epilogue; DVD: Galactic Alignment : Piano Duo Improvisation.

Personnel: Fred Van Hove: piano; Shih-Yang Lee: piano.

Title: Galactic Alignment | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Kandala Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Harmony of Difference CD/LP/Track Review Harmony of Difference
by Phil Barnes
Published: October 18, 2017
Read No Answer CD/LP/Track Review No Answer
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 18, 2017
Read Agrima CD/LP/Track Review Agrima
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 18, 2017
Read Bright Yellow with Bass CD/LP/Track Review Bright Yellow with Bass
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 18, 2017
Read Kurrent CD/LP/Track Review Kurrent
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: October 17, 2017
Read Duets CD/LP/Track Review Duets
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 17, 2017
Read "We're All Gonna Die" CD/LP/Track Review We're All Gonna Die
by Doug Collette
Published: October 1, 2017
Read "I Can See Clearly Now" CD/LP/Track Review I Can See Clearly Now
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 7, 2017
Read "Duets" CD/LP/Track Review Duets
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 17, 2017
Read "Star Gazing" CD/LP/Track Review Star Gazing
by Edward Blanco
Published: May 27, 2017
Read "Pandora's Bag" CD/LP/Track Review Pandora's Bag
by Geannine Reid
Published: July 25, 2017
Read "Follow Your Heart" CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.