Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for readers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!


Schlippenbach & Johansson: Live 1976/77

Derek Taylor By

Sign in to view read count
Alexander von Schlippenbach has always worked well with drummers and his previous discography bears his preference for such percussive partners out. From the work unveiled on this disc to later meetings with the likes of Sunny Murray and Tony Oxley ( Smoke and Diggers Harvest respectively, both on FMP) his own percussive style with hooks in the innovations of Cecil Taylor has flourished in stripped down settings of piano and drums. Johansson is similarly suited to such environments. Whether in larger ensemble settings like the octet memorialized on Brötzmann’s Machine Gun where his ballistic interactions with Fred Van Hove and fellow drummer Han Bennink kept things fired up to a furnace heat, or alone as on his recently reissued Schlingerland/Dynamische Schwingungen (Unheard/Atavistic) he approaches his kit with a complete and candid openness to any and all possibilities.

Pieced together from personal tapes these dozen performances run a wide gamut especially considering their sparse instrumentation. Neither man is absolute leader or follower. Instead a fluid propulsory pact exists in their interplay allowing either one to upend the tables and light out in a new trajectory, partner in tow. On the opening track, which winds onward for nearly a third of an hour, a dense dance between drums and keys gives way to a playful Tango-tinged solo from Johansson’s accordion and an eventual rough edit into radical reworkings of Monk’s “Evidence” and “Round About Midnight.” The latter is almost unrecognizable, a frayed string of sideshow percussion and obliquely referenced melody. “Yaapo” returns the duo’s ship to more lyrical waters for a short spell as Johannson’s woodblocks accent a colorful series of cheerful runs from Schlippenbach before a sudden shift into more turbulent straights. The dynamic tension created between sections is a pure thing of tensile-charged beauty. Johansson rolls out the spare change and junk on “Potpourri a la bonne femme” creating a wonderfully unruly mélange of percussive flavors prior to his partner’s entry on prepared piano keys and innards. “Very Good Because Very Strong” composed in honor of South African saxophonist Dudu Pukwana is a flood of cascading block chords tested under the weight of Johansson’s continuous drum barrage. Other pieces like “Blues Is Something Slightly Knowing,” which focuses on accordion and vocalized lyrics in English are more curious than engaging, but still add further to the feeling that anything is fair game for restless imaginations of these two. Ending with a fractured vocal reading of the standard “Over the Rainbow” the pair keeps a wistful eye trained to the future.

Perhaps the best news of all is that both of these players are still actively performing and recording with their own groups: Schlippenbach with a handful of aggregations and Johansson with a working quintet (documented on Hatology). Through varied projects each man continues to actualize and expand on the promise first set down in these earlier meetings. To have them available for perusal is a boon we should all give thanks for.

FMP on the web: http://www.free-music-production.de

Track Listing: Kurz vor Mitternacht mit Walzer plus/ Evidence/ Round about midnight/ Yaapo/ Potpourri a la bonne femme/ Very good because very strong (to Dudu Pukwana)/ Blues is something slightly knowing/ Nordstr

Personnel: Alexander von Schlippenbach- piano); Sven-

Title: Live 1976/77 | Year Released: 2001 | Record Label: FMP Records


comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Satoko Fujii Solo CD/LP/Track Review Satoko Fujii Solo
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 17, 2018
Read when the shade is stretched CD/LP/Track Review when the shade is stretched
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 17, 2018
Read The Influencing Machine CD/LP/Track Review The Influencing Machine
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 17, 2018
Read Presence CD/LP/Track Review Presence
by Geannine Reid
Published: January 17, 2018
Read Flaneur CD/LP/Track Review Flaneur
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: January 16, 2018
Read D'Agala CD/LP/Track Review D'Agala
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 16, 2018
Read "Hesitantly Pleasant" CD/LP/Track Review Hesitantly Pleasant
by John Sharpe
Published: November 12, 2017
Read "Tone Twister" CD/LP/Track Review Tone Twister
by Geannine Reid
Published: December 19, 2017
Read "Third Stage of Elegance" CD/LP/Track Review Third Stage of Elegance
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: May 6, 2017
Read "Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall)" CD/LP/Track Review Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall)
by Phil Barnes
Published: June 26, 2017
Read "Songbook Volume 1" CD/LP/Track Review Songbook Volume 1
by Jim Olin
Published: October 12, 2017
Read "One of a Kind" CD/LP/Track Review One of a Kind
by Troy Dostert
Published: October 3, 2017