Artist: Alex Von Schlippenbach

Date of Release: 01/09/2005

Catalogue no: SLAMCD 262

Label: SLAM

Price: £9.99

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Track Listing









Alex Von Schlippenbach piano, Paul Dunmall tenor saxophone,
Tony Bianco drums, Paul Rogers 7 string bass.

Track 1 Salamander 29min. 11sec.
Track 2 Leviathan 34min. 46sec.

Recorded 21st October 2004 at Steam Rooms, Poplar, London.
Engineer Jon Wilkinson.

A set of 2 powerful improvisations by 4 masters of the genre. Alex Von Schlippenbach, one of the pioneers of the free jazz movement in Berlin in the 1960's, known for his legendary big band the Globe Unity Orchestra and his trio with Evan Parker and Paul Lovens. Recently he has recorded the complete works of Thelonius Monk. Paul Dunmall, one of the leading lights in melodic free improvising over the last 25 years on saxophone and his more revolutionary work on bagpipes, has an immense range of experience playing with Johnny Guitar Watson, London Jazz Composers Orchestra, Mujician and Danny Thompson's ‘Whatever’. Paul Rogers is an integral part of the European Improvised music scene, working with all the recognized players across the continent and beyond, whilst developing his outstanding approach on his own designed 7 string bass. Tony Bianco, firmly rooted in the Jazz Tradition from his home in New York, has embraced all forms of improvised music. His drive and stamina are exceptional.




01/05/2006 Jerome Wilson

The veteran leaders of (2) already have
strong identities, Alex Von Schlippenbach as one
of the fathers of European Free Jazz and Paul
Dunmall as a tenor master of mesmerizing power
and beauty. This CD contains two long works.
“Salamander,” the first, opens with the group in
fast rumbling mode, led by Dunmall blowing short,
rippling phrases over a percolating rhythm section
and working a few Southern soul shouts into the
mix. All four men take virtuoso turns in the spotlight
while keeping the rolling ebb and flow of
the music alive.
“Leviathan” lives up to its title, a murky, rumbling
noise of strummed piano strings, distant percussion,
bowed bass and creaking tenor that
sounds like it’s coming up from the bottom of the
sea. The music slowly revs up as the drums get
louder and Von Schlippenbach bounces back and
forth like a pinball while Dunmall yodels on his sax.
Later Von Schlippenbach has a beautiful solo passage
with Rogers roaring like a sea lion in the
background before the group turbulence starts up
again and an insistent clockwork rhythm emerges
with the group sounding like an enormous
machine churning on and on at high speed. This is
magnificent work from a group of masters capable
of juggling sound with dazzling power for 30 minutes
at a time.
Jerome Wilson


01/12/2005 Brian Morton

WIRE December 2005
This is effectively Mujician with Tony Levin giving way to Tony Bianco on drums and Keith Tippett replaced by Alex von Schlippenbach on piano. But Schlippenbach has always let it be known that free jazz – and sometimes changes-and-rhythm jazz – are still very much what he does. The linear energy he brings to this is very different from Tippett’s more shamanic approach. The music remains more on a single level, without the transcendent leaps you’d expect from Mujician.
Vesuvius works wonderfully – two large slabs of urgent, probing sound with no fat and little room for meditative pause. The pianist probes and prods at ideas that float up from some common pool of musical language, and then dismantles them. Paul Dunmall, playing only tenor saxophone this time, resorts to shorter and more angular phrases than usual, with phrasing that contends with the piano line. In a rather uncomfortable position in the stereo picture, Paul Rogers coaxes some highly effective sounds from his seven-string All bass, making full use of its cello range end, but never setting aside his familiar role, like a drifting anchor. Tony Bianco’s playing sits much further away from jazz again, even if some of his fast, urgently hissing figures constantly hint at a fast jazz 6/8 without ever resolving into it. He is what makes this such a different sounding date, and such a good one.
The shorter “Salamander” does sound proven in fire, its surface bubbling and shifting like something molten cast into as yet uncertain form. The longer “Leviathan” manages not to lumber, but there are a couple of places where the direction seems in doubt and the four participants lose touch with each other. Even so, this is a remarkable, unexpected record with a real edge.
Brian Morton


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