3

Schlippenbach Trio: Warsaw Concert

John Sharpe By

Sign in to view read count
Schlippenbach Trio: Warsaw Concert There can't be too many outfits still going strong after 44 years, especially with an unchanged roster. But that's exactly the situation German pianist Alexander von Schlippenbach faces with his trio of countryman Paul Lovens on the drum stool and the legendary Evan Parker on tenor saxophone, give or take an occasional bassist. As a consequence they travel in uncharted territory, tasked with finding their own solutions to the challenge of keeping the music fresh and meaningful. While there are no startling new discoveries to be found on their twentieth album Warsaw Concert, a live recording from October 2015, it proves a wonderful document of what the group does best: vital, untrammelled, extended spontaneous composition.

Of course one benefit of longevity is the attendant maturity and wisdom. Here it translates into mastery of not only the instruments, but how to stitch them together through the 51-minute performance and subsequent short encore. Initially perceived as a rejection of American jazz forms, over the years, the threesome's connections to that tradition become more clear, to the degree that the liners disclose references to two Eric Dolphy tunes "Miss Ann" and "Out There," although you might be pushed to pick them out from the unfolding discourse. No-one could mistake this for the classical avant-garde.

Schlippenbach creates instant structure, with composerly reiterated motifs, but doesn't shy away from the jazz canon, evidenced by distant and not so distant echoes of blues, Monk and Cecil Taylor. Parker's lines unfurl to superhuman lengths through circular breathing. His questioning phrases blend well with the nominal leader, pursuing a similar modular cell-like approach, where the practice is: repeat, mutate, evolve, move on. Lovens maybe the doyen of European drummers. His light airy cymbals and tappy drums enable transparency to let the interplay shine through in even the most high octane episodes. Yet he still imparts dash and verve through breathtaking attention to timbre and sound placement.

It's music to immerse and lose yourself in, constantly shifting and recalibrating, its progress made possible through accomplished transitions. After a perky barrelhouse inflected sequence with cantering percussive accompaniment, Parker joins touching on the outskirts of lyricism, shaded by now angular drums. Another splendid moment comes when after another passage of yelping gruff circular breathing, as Parker sustains a long tone, piano and drums crash in simultaneously to catapult the music into another direction. They do what they do without gimmicks and the end product remains all the better for it.

Track Listing: Warsaw Concert; Where Is Kinga?

Personnel: Alexander von Schlippenbach: piano; Evan Parker: tenor saxophone; Paul Lovens: drums.

Title: Warsaw Concert | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Intakt Records


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Developing Story CD/LP/Track Review Developing Story
by Edward Blanco
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Lantern CD/LP/Track Review Lantern
by John Kelman
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall) CD/LP/Track Review Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall)
by Phil Barnes
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Unification CD/LP/Track Review Unification
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Crossing CD/LP/Track Review Crossing
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 25, 2017
Read Unit[e] CD/LP/Track Review Unit[e]
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 25, 2017
Read "Clockwise / The Music of Cedar Walton" CD/LP/Track Review Clockwise / The Music of Cedar Walton
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 11, 2017
Read "Planets + Persona" CD/LP/Track Review Planets + Persona
by Geno Thackara
Published: March 18, 2017
Read "Lantern" CD/LP/Track Review Lantern
by John Kelman
Published: June 26, 2017
Read "Notes Over Poetry" CD/LP/Track Review Notes Over Poetry
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: June 11, 2017
Read "Until Your Throat Is Dry" CD/LP/Track Review Until Your Throat Is Dry
by John Sharpe
Published: September 29, 2016
Read "Live at PafA" CD/LP/Track Review Live at PafA
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: February 21, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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