Alexander von Schlippenbach: Slow Pieces For Aki: Piano Solo

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
Alexander von Schlippenbach: Slow Pieces For Aki: Piano Solo
Pianist Alexander von Schlippenbach began recording in the 1950s. Twenty years into the new millennium, he continues to do so prolifically, with twenty-five albums under his own name listed on Wikipedia—a seeming short shrift; his three solo albums on the Intakt Records label from 2005 and 2012 somehow didn't make the list, suggesting there are more. His profile rose in the 1960s, with his work with the Global Unity Orchestra and a trio with saxophonist Evan Parker and drummer Paul Lovens. And his work in collaboration with Parker and the world of free improvisation suggests some seriously "out there" sounds that are "fast, loud and intense."

But with his solo outings, that is not the case. Though known as an avant-garde-ist, on record von Schlippenbach has explored the more traditional sounds of Thelonious Monk and Jelly Roll Morton and, with his Intakt Records solo piano discography, he has delved into, again, Monk on Plays Monk (2012), and a measured and often introspective beauty on 2005's Twelve Tone Tales, Vol 1 and Twelve Tone Tales, Vol.2.

The creation of Slow Pieces For Aki: Piano Solo was given a nudge by von Schlippenbach's life partner, pianist Aki Takase, who questioned the necessity of speed, volume and intensity in the realm of free improvisation. Von Schlippenbach answers her question with twenty-one short tunes—running from just over one minute to just over four minutes, ten of them improvisations—laid down with an almost religious deliberation, a measured music where every note rings with a sense of meaning and directness.

Solo piano is a special challenge. Every jazz pianist worth his/her salt goes there; Art Tatum, Cecil Taylor, Jessica Williams, Keith Jarrett, Fred Hersch and more have navigated success at going it alone at the keyboard. To that list of solo stars, add Alexander von Schlippenbach, with his sixty-plus years experience in the crafting of compelling sounds, for his two Twelve Tone Tales sets, and for his solemn sonic seduction of Slow Pieces For Aki: Piano Solo.

Track Listing

Haru No Yuki (Frühling Im Schnee); Improvisation I; Torso; Improvisation II; Improvisation III; Tell You; Improvisation IV; Cleo; Improvisation V; Naniga Nandemo; Improvisation VI; A-Blues; Blues b; Improvisation VII; I Told You; Improvisation VIII; Improvisation IX; Dydo; Improvisation X; Frage Nicht; Zycado.


Alexander von Schlippenbach: piano.

Album information

Title: Slow Pieces For Aki - Piano Solo | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: Intakt Records

Post a comment about this album


Shop Amazon


Zero Grasses: Ritual for The Losses
Jen Shyu and Jade Tongue
J. Peter Schwalm & Markus Reuter
Liudas Mockūnas / Arvydas Kazlauskas
Chapter One
Marieke Koopman


All About Jazz needs your support

All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary step that will help musicians and venues now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the sticky footer ad). Thank you!

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.