A quartet of remarkable talent
Alan E. Kayser | Florida, United States | 09/05/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Schlippenbach Trio here becomes a quartet with the addition of Peter Kowald to the regular members: Evan Parker reeds, Paul Lovens percussion, and Alexander von Schlippenbach piano. How lucky we are that this recording has finally seen the light of day. Add this to more recent releases on the FMP label and you have a feast for fans of this remarkable true "super" group. There is the argument among many "free" players that familiarity is the antithesis of improvisation. This group disproves that theory, and then some. Hunting the Snake sounds fresh 25 years after the making, and compares to the best of the AvS Trio. Drop this one into any period in their history and it stands up quite well. I had to laugh at the title of the cd, because Parker reminds me of a crazed snake charmer, especially when he picks up the soprano sax. Though Schlippenbach is often classified as a Cecil Taylor sound-alike, I find that to be far from his style. His playing is far less percussive than Taylor, and he is quite sensitive to the other musicians. His touch is often quite light, and indeed one must admire the space he gives to the others. Lovens is the least known of the trio, but one listen will convince that here is a percussionist who can play any style, and he is often the glue that prevents the whole thing from flying apart. Kowald, as with Alan Silva on other recordings as a fourth member, is able to hold his own, and to find space in a crowded room. Kowald was no stranger, and played often with all three regulars. One can only hope there's more of this out there. Though we've hit the jackpot in recent years with several new recordings (I highly recommend Swinging the Bim), they still only have less than a dozen in almost 30 years. If you are a fan of free, improvised, oh well, just great music, then buy this."
Superb european free improv
R. Hutchinson | a world ruled by fossil fuels and fossil minds | 12/24/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is another in the Unheard Music series put together by John Corbett on Atavistic Records. I believe this is the earliest recording by our heroes currently available. Usually recording as the Schlippenbach Trio (with Parker and Lovens), here they are joined by Peter Kowald on bass. Awesome stuff! Recent recordings are still great ("Complete Combustion" is the latest, on FMP, and check out "50th Birthday Concert" under Parker's name, with 1 disc of Schlippenbach/Parker/Lovens and 1 of Parker/Guy/Lytton), but here you have a greater sense of adventure as these young rebels explored the possibilities of playing FREE. Four long tracks that are absolutely exhilarating!"