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Alexander von Schlippenbach wrote the first tune on this record as a radio project for the NDR Jazz Workshop in 1974. From his imagination sprung a conjunction of classical music and of jazz (as he and the Globe Unity Orchestra fermented it). It would have been so easy to let the two entwine and create a hybrid, but given the impetus and the direction the orchestra takes, that would be all too facile an approach. While they bring into play the tumble and roll, they also conjur dissonance and the wit on the spur, neatly weaving it with the voices of the choir. This results in one happy outing blessed with the heart and structure that gives classical music its throb, and the freedom that jazz invests in imaginations that are constantly seeking the unusual.
The thread unravels through the squeaks and squabble of the reeds, sent into semblance by a martial air, and the choir rejoicing in the harmony of their voices before the female chorus and the male tenor add resplendence and colour to the music. The orchestra soon opens its seams and bursts into a vibrant dissonance driven by the horns and the drums with the percussion (and quite probably the voice) of Han Bennink adding a distinct angle. But if surprise gets its tip of the hat, it comes when the choir limbers into free voice, lassoed in as the welter rises to feverish heat. And what would the collective be without humour? The choir breezes in for the levity joined by the vocally zealous members of the orchestra.
"Kontraste und Synthesen" is a Manfred Schoof composition from the '60s. Schoof uses voice to float like clouds over the brass, the trombones blowing straight lines, the other horns billowing in whirls. It is a rather rowdy offering, like a market square on a busy morning. But before the close, there is a clarion call on the trumpet that heralds the other players for a free-for-all, and then a cool wind slips in and smoothes the ruffles.
Track Listing: Hamburg '74; Kontraste und Synthesen
Personnel: Manfred Schoof, Kenny Wheeler--trumpets; Peter Br
Jazz is a continuing revelation. The best show I ever attended was the
Roots Picnic at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia, or was it Robert
Glasper's Experiment at Lincoln Center, or was it Chick Corea with
Brian Blade at Oberlin College? Most of all I enjoy playing guitar and
composing beats with my Brooklyn-based group Space Captain.