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Alex von Schlippenbach

Well known - in improvising circles - for his trio with Evan Parker and Paul Lovens and as constant moving force behind the Globe Unity Orchestra, Alex von Schlippenbach's involvement with the music spans over 30 years and, inevitably, many other associations.

Schlippenbach started to play piano from the age of 8 and went on to study composition at Cologne under Bernd Alois Zimmermann. While studying he started to play with Manfred Schoof. At the age of 28 he founded the Globe Unity Orchestra. In 1988, he founded the Berlin Contemporary Jazz Orchestra, a big band that has over the years comprised, among others, Willem Breuker, Paul Lovens, Misha Mengelberg, Evan Parker, Schlippenbach's wife Aki Takase and Kenny Wheeler. In 1994 he was awarded the Albert Mangelsdorff prize.

Schlippenbach has produced various recordings and worked for German radio channels. He played with many players of the European free jazz community. In 2005 he recorded the complete works of Thelonious Monk, which were released on CD as Monk's Casino.

Featured releases

Recording of the long overdue meeting of Prévost & Schlippenbach.  On Eddie Prévost's drum solo - "...absolutely masterful dissertation in jazz drumming with roots in Roach and Blackwell; it might be one of the finest jazz percussion solos on record. He does take something from the AMM experience in that he dwells in a handful of specific areas for minutes at a time, not flying willy-nilly over his set (thus recalling Jerome Cooper's wonderful solo performances from the 70s). So he begins with brushes on drumheads, gradually adds in cymbals, proceeds to sticks on toms and rims, has a brief episode with the full set, then eventually concentrates on the cymbals to end things. Throughout, he maintains a quick rhythm with a light touch, a thread that helps the entire piece cohere beautifully. His melodic touch is astonishing-Roach would be proud. This track alone makes purchase of "Blackheath" mandatory." - Brian Olewnick  "In his early period, Prévost was jokingly referred to as the "Art Blakey of Brixton", while Schlippenbach emulated the Jazz Messengers during the early 60's. "Art Blakey was one of our idols," says the pianist. We transcribed and copied the songs of Jazz Messengers records in the Manfred School Quintet.” - Christoph Wagner.  --- Eddie Prévost / drums Alexander von Schlippenbach / piano  --- Recorded at a concert given at Blackheath Halls, London, England on 30th March 2008 by Sebastian Lexer. Mastered by Sebastian Lexer. 

Alexander Von Schlippenbach & Eddie Prévost – Blackheath

"Found in the archives of FMP!
 The very first – never released – recordings of the Schlippenbach Trio." "Pianist Alexander von Schlippenbach along with Evan Parker on tenor and soprano saxophone and Paul Lovens on drums are one of the longest lasting and most well respected groups in free jazz improvisation. Apparently it all began here on April 2, 1972 during the Workshop Freie Musik at the Acadamy of the Arts, Berlin. It hardly sounds like a first recording, because they come out of the gate with almost telepathic unity on "Deals" which is a continuous collective improvisation lasting over thirty eight minutes. The musicians show an amazing degree of stamina considering that the music is played with a very exciting degree of high energy. While each of these musicians were well on their way to developing their own unique original sounds, Schlippenbach displays a fascinating degree of classical technique filtered through the funhouse fractals of Thelonious Monk's music and Evan Parker's love of John Coltrane is evident. A comparison for Paul Lovens escapes me, but perhaps the fast fleet form of Andrew Cryille or Sunny Murray would be apt. "Deals" is a wonderful roller coaster, most exciting for me when they are barreling ahead full blast with Parker's caustic tone leading the charge over percussive piano and drums. There is quite a bit of dynamism at play as well, the musicians throttle through different speeds and dissolve into solos and duos as the joyride plows onward. Far from exhausted, there are three more shorter improvisations: "Village", "With Forks and Hopes" and then appropriately "Then, Silence." These shorter tracks point to a sharper juxtaposition than the lengthy leading track and show that the group has a wide range and diverse manner of approaches at their command. This was a very enjoyable album, quite exiting in the rough and tumble way that I enjoy, since I often lose my way listening to very quiet and abstract music. This is a must for fans of European free improvisation and is quite interesting in that it shows where the heralded trio got its start." (Music and More) --- Alexander von Schlippenbach / piano 
Evan Parker / tenor and soprano saxophone Paul Lovens / drums --- Recorded by an unknown engineer april 2nd 1972 during the Workshop Freie Musik at the Acadamy of the Arts, Berlin.
All music by Parker/Von Schlippenbach/Lovens
Mastering by Olaf Rupp & Martin Siewert. Produced by Jost Gebers. Cover by Lasse Marhaug. Photos Dagmar Gebers

Schlippenbach Trio – First Recordings

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