191

Schlippenbach Quartet: Hunting the Snake

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
The '70s were a banner decade for free improvisation in Europe. Much of the free jazz of today—especially recent material from the New York avant/free scene—owes huge debts to early European improvisers. Pianist Alexander von Schlippenbach made great leaps at both the compositional level and the performance level, integrating a high level of structure into a setting fully embodying musical democracy. Schlippenbach's playing per se spans the range from focused harmonic concentration to all-out glissando/clustering abandon. While the obvious comparisons to players like Cecil Taylor and Matthew Shipp may help to clarify Schlippenbach's structuralist musical vision, his approach can also be readily compared to Monk and classical composers as well.

In the company of masters like saxophonist Evan Parker, bassist Peter Kowald, and drummer Paul Lovens, Schlippenbach's music rises to a higher level. Parker constantly teeters on the brink of overblown textures and whistling overtones, building and releasing tension in coordination with the rest of the group. The unique combination of Kowald and Parker together creates a web of sound which frequently steps outside the bounds of conventional notation and enters into a range of timbre that approximates the human voice. Lovens's percussion also defies any sort of regular pattern, jumping from rhythm to rhythm with creative abandon.

Hunting the Snake, a never-before released record from a 1975 Radio Bremen session, is the only CD recording in print of the Schlippenbach quartet. For those listeners who have absorbed and appreciated the underdocumented genius of Schlippenbach in settings like his fantastic 1990 FMP trio recording Elf Bagatellen (with Parker and Lovens), this disc is a must-listen. For those curious about the free jazz innovations of the '70s, Hunting the Snake is a fine starting point. Regardless, it's great music, delivered from the heart with sensitivity and unbridled creative freedom.


Track Listing: Glen Feshie; Moonbeef; Hunting the Snake; Wenn Wir Kehlkopfspieler Uns Unterhalten.

Personnel: Alexander von Schlippenbach, piano; Evan Parker, tenor and soprano saxophones; Peter Kowald, bass; Paul Lovens, percussion.

Title: Hunting The Snake | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: Atavistic Worldwide


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Déjà Vu CD/LP/Track Review Déjà Vu
by Troy Dostert
Published: September 20, 2017
Read Woody Guthrie - The Tribute Concerts CD/LP/Track Review Woody Guthrie - The Tribute Concerts
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 20, 2017
Read Two in a Box CD/LP/Track Review Two in a Box
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 20, 2017
Read Discussions CD/LP/Track Review Discussions
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 20, 2017
Read Just Friends: Live at the Village Vanguard CD/LP/Track Review Just Friends: Live at the Village Vanguard
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: September 19, 2017
Read Introducing the Simon Eskildsen Trio CD/LP/Track Review Introducing the Simon Eskildsen Trio
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 19, 2017
Read "Blue And Lonesome" CD/LP/Track Review Blue And Lonesome
by Doug Collette
Published: February 4, 2017
Read "Rediscovered Ellington" CD/LP/Track Review Rediscovered Ellington
by James Nadal
Published: August 16, 2017
Read "J.I.G.E.N" CD/LP/Track Review J.I.G.E.N
by Mark Sullivan
Published: July 5, 2017
Read "Steal Your Heart" CD/LP/Track Review Steal Your Heart
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 2, 2017
Read "Instinct" CD/LP/Track Review Instinct
by Roger Farbey
Published: August 12, 2017
Read "Volume 1" CD/LP/Track Review Volume 1
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 19, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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