Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Alex Von Schlippenbach|
Living Music (1969)
Genres: Jazz, Special Interest, Pop, Rock
Listen to Samples
Back to the source -- long-lost German free jazz
R. Hutchinson | a world ruled by fossil fuels and fossil minds | 09/04/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"THE LIVING MUSIC was one of the first releases on FMP, the German free jazz/free improv label (that's Free Music Production). It was recorded in the same Rhenus Studio near Koln on the same day (4/24/69) as Brotzmann's NIPPLES (see my review). This is a great fresh-sounding septet, full of energy and still clearly in the free jazz mode, not yet escaping the jazz rhythm and becoming "free improv." In fact, I recently read an interview with Schlippenbach in The Wire, and he said that he personally considers that he never did stop playing free jazz, despite the claims of some, notably including Evan Parker, who he has played with all this time.
Schlippenbach just recently recorded all of Monk's compositions, and Monk can certainly be found in THE LIVING MUSIC. "Tower," a Schlippenbach composition which was the first track on Side B of the original vinyl disc, leads off with the chords to "Monk's Mood." Given that they are the basis for the improvisation and are returned to at the end, the compositional credit seems a bit audacious. Gershwin is also quoted in Schlippenbach's solo, I think it's "Ain't Necessarily So" from Porgy & Bess. Brotzmann also utilizes a quote in his "Lollapalooza" -- there's something that sounds like a hymn that I can't place, quite lovely, and then he sneaks up on you with a phrase from "America the Beautiful." Quite interesting given these musicians' immersion in the anti-war and leftist Movement of the day (1969), but it doesn't sound at all ironic. The opening title track is a sort of Art Ensemble of Chicago ritual, and I find it to be quite powerful. Han Bennink utilizes all sorts of percussion, including vibes, Schlippenbach is magisterial, and the horns all make impressive contributions over its 15-minutes -- Peter Brotzmann on tenor & baritone sax, Michel Pilz on bass clarinet & baritone sax, Paul Rutherford on trombone and Manfred Schoof on cornet. Buschi Niebergall holds down the bottom end on bass. Three of the pieces are by Schlippenbach, one by Brotzmann, and the other two are by Schoof, "Wave" and "Past Time," both of which closed the original album sides. These stand out as more traditional jazz numbers -- "Wave" has a standard head, with wild soloing in-between, and "Past Time" nearly sounds like a different band entirely, perhaps the mid-Sixties Miles quintet with a kick.
This is an excellent set, which sounds like it was recorded live, though it wasn't. The studio was full of energy, that's for sure, and the blend of free jazz standing at the crossroads from hard bop and modal forms to totally free improv sounds fresh to my ears today. Thanks to John Corbett and Atavistic's Unheard Music series for unearthing yet another rare treasure from the FMP Archives!"