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Keith Tippett: The Unlonely Raindancer

Matt Parker By

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Some people find that solo piano albums, no matter how highly regarded they may be, struggle to hold their attention for a full listen. This can often be attributed to the relatively small timbral palette apparently available to pianists. However, nothing could be further from the truth regarding the extraordinary performances of Keith Tippett documented in this beautiful reissue of the seminal album The Unlonely Raindancer (Universe Productions, 1980). Tippett draws a seemingly limitless supply of hitherto unimaginable sounds from the piano, to the point where it is very easy during many periods of the album to completely forget which instrument is being played. A perfect example of this can be found in the almost disorientating high- register arpeggios of the title track which, aside from being a staggering feat of technique and endurance, appear to take on a synthesized sequencer quality, something one would probably not expect to encounter emanating from a piano.

Discus Music have lovingly recreated the album from 600 hundred minutes of music recorded during Tippett's 1979 tour of the Netherlands. Whilst unfortunately the master tapes of the original release from the following year no longer exist, Martin Archer of Discus was able to piece the album back together using the primary source material. The sound quality is excellent throughout, heightening the sense of intense spontaneous musical creation and performance. The Unlonely Raindancer is a genuinely monumental work of art from one of Britain's finest ever improvisers and composers. It is an essential record of Tippett at the peak of his creative and technical powers and a timely reminder, given his recent ill health, of why he really ought to be considered a true living legend of world jazz and improvisation.

Track Listing: Tortworth Oak (first version); The Unlonely Raindancer; Thank You God For My Wife And Children; The Muted Melody; Steel Yourself / The Bell, The Gong, The Voice; Dear Ireland; The Pool; Tortworth Oak (second version); Midnight Snow Walk.

Personnel: Keith Tippett: Piano, Prepared Piano, Zither.

Title: The Unlonely Raindancer | Year Released: 2019 | Record Label: Discus-Music

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