Schlippenbach Trio. Gold Is Where You Find It.
Intakt CD 143



ner. Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 16. Mai 2008



Neues vom Schlippenbach
Ins Abenteuerland

Nein, dies hier ist nicht die mit Folk- und Ethnoklängen und handzahm säuselnder Sängerin versetzte Melange, die uns neuerdings als „Jazz“ angedreht werden soll. Dies hier ist die Essenz dessen, was sich in jahrzehntelanger Auseinandersetzung mit den dynamischen Möglichkeiten des Free Jazz hat erarbeiten lassen. Mit Risiko wird das Abenteuer der Kommunikation gelebt. Was das bedeutet, verrät das Foto im Booklet, das augenzwinkernd fragt: „Würden Sie diesen Männern ihre Musik abkaufen?“ Die ergrauten Fahrensleute der freien Improvisation sind der soeben siebzig Jahre alt gewordene Pianist Alexander von Schlippenbach, der Saxofonist Evan Parker und der Schlagzeuger Paul Lovens. Das erste Album dieses Trios erschien 1972. Heute, 36 Jahre später, herrscht Gelassenheit und Klarheit im Umgang miteinander: hier wird zu jeder Sekunde der Fortgang des Ganzen neu ausgehandelt. Ben Young vergleicht in seinen anregenden, das Faszinosum dieser Musik vermittelnden Booklettexte das, was hier zu hören ist, mit einem trefflichen Bild: drei Männer, die gleichzeitig Stein-Schere-Papier spielen. Bei jedem Hören entdeckt man neue Wendungen, die später, anderswo vielleicht noch mal variiert werden. Stets kann man mit Young fragen: „Wie sind wir dahin gekommen? Zurück, noch mal hören.“ Und gleich noch mal!
ukr, Stuttgarter Zeitung, 27.5.2008


Suite des aventures du Schlippenbach Trio, Gold Is Where You Find It scelle l’entente et découvre au passage de nouvelles possibilités, offertes par quelques années d’efforts qui auront forgé la maîtrise.
A Baden-Baden, fin 2007, Schlippenbach, Evan Parker et Paul Lovens remirent donc le métier sur l’ouvrage, de progressions difficiles sur lesquelles s’entendre mieux qu’ailleurs (ZDWA) en ruades attendues mais toujours supérieures (Three in One). Différents, quelques morceaux d’abstraction conseillent aux musiciens l’installation inquiète d’une atmosphère à qui l’on refuse tout développement (K. SP), ou la mise en place lente d’une entente tripartite gagnée par la vitesse (Gold Is Where You Find It). Définitif, si les 35 ans du Schlippenbach Trio ne promettaient pas d’en prendre encore et de s’affiner., France



As this trio is decades into its existence, readers and potential listeners might be forgiven for thinking that the trio's collective music is losing some of its power. This, however, is far from the case. There's kinetic energy about some of the performances here but that sense is tempered by the group's distinctly non-formulaic understanding of each other as musicians. The resulting mutual understanding amounts to something far in excess of the number of participants in terms of profundity.
It's interesting to note that Evan Parker brings only his tenor sax to these proceedings. So great is his individuality on the bigger of his horns that it seems like he's developed two entirely separate vocabularies. This is no trivial feat when so many people seem to have difficulty in mastering one, and here it manifests itself most overtly in agitated lines, as on the opening in “Z.D.W.A,” where the group energy is subjected to the most rigorous scrutiny and the music comes in fits and starts all of which avoid anything disjointedly episodic.
”Amorpha” is something else again. Here the music moves by stealth and the essential paradox is that in less than four minutes the trio manages to cover so much ground. Von Schlippenbach comes into his own here, though of course not in the sense of being in any way removed from his compadres. As elsewhere the sense is of profoundly collective music.
In defiance of any animal aggression suggested in a title like “Monkey's Fist” the music again has about it a reflective air, albeit one refracted through some rarefied prisms. Whilst Parker does nothing as impertinent as leading the ear is drawn repeatedly to his lines, so much so in fact that it takes a while for the subtleties of Lovens's contribution to come through. When they do it's a pertinent reminder of this music's power to move.
The same considerations come to light on “The Bells Of St. K,” where Parker gives the music its initial shape only for Von Schlippenbach and Lovens to test the malleability of the form he's essentially created. When the music comes home listeners might not be able to avoid the impression of work in perpetual progress.

Nic Jones, All About Jazz, USA, July 02, 2008


This recent Schlippenbach Trio recording comes close on the heels of the last, at least in comparison to the lengthy gaps between their previous meetings of past decades. A natural question rests in whether it stands out substantially in the group’s existing corpus? Arguable metaphors abound, but one that keeps cropping up in my cranium is that of a miniature Zen garden. The rake and sandbox are the same. It’s the furrows and patterns amongst assembled grains that reflect the difference. Annotator Ben Young dubs the trio the Three Wise Men and explicates on the near-telepathy that exists between them. Both the ascription and the posited collective extrasensory ability are evident from the opening “Z.D.W.A.”, an improvised piece that harkens back to the ensemble’s free jazz roots in its rapid deployment of controlled explosions. So too does the closer “The Bells of St. K”, credited to Schlippenbach and thick with slow rising tension. Other tracks carry the semblance of individual composer credits, the overlap with spur-of-the-moment improvisation in seamless.
Parker speaks solely through tenor and the focus is a boon for those who prefer his granular vernacular on the larger horn. Sharply serrated blowing interchanges with a feathery phraseology that finds him ferreting at melodic fragments. Dry and cottony, tonal comparisons to Getz and Marsh aren’t so confabulatory, though in Parker’s case the abrasiveness of steel wool is within easy reach. His solo opening on “Three in One” avoids circular breathing in favor of finite phrase lengths and it’s another winsome deviation from the standard playbook. Schlippenbach’s piano resounds with roiling rhythms and decaying chord structures, balancing vigor with chamber detail. His strings plus keys manipulations on the title piece create a cascading percussive climate in collusion with Lovens. The drummer is his usual dynamics-driven self, spending as much time on carefully-constructed texture as velocity. Sequenced back to back, his “Slightly Flapping” and “Amorpha” stack percussive minutiae into terse time spans. The mix of short bagatelles and lengthier pieces mirrors some of their work for FMP though the sounds here have a definite advantage thanks to state-of-the-art studio clarity. The disc’s title suggests a simple, but accurate reduction of the trio’s chemistry, a quantity both conscious and unconscious catalyzed by a confidence in the longevity of their particular context.

Derek Taylor,, 24. May 2008


Full frihet
Etter å ha tilbragt mer enn 35 år sammen som trio, så vet disse herrene hva de snakker om.

Den tyske pianisten Alexander von Schlippenbach og hans landsmann Paul Lovens på trommer har, sammen med engelskmannen Evan Parker på tenorsaksofon, utgjort kjernen i den europeiske frijazzbevegelsen helt siden 60-tallet. Det gjør de fortsatt i en rekke sammenhenger og Schlippenbach Trio, som ga ut sin første plate i 1972, er fortsatt like kompromissløs.
”Gold Is Where You Find It” består av 10 låter som varer fra knapt to minutter til bortimot et kvarter. I all hovedsak virker låtene som et slags rammeverk eller utskytingsrampe for de tres ekskursjoner i et landskap de har skapt og fortsatt skaper gjennom en kunnskap om egne og de andres ferdigheter og gjennom kjemien som sjølsagt må være sterk etter at de har holdt ut med hverandre siden begynnelsen av 70-tallet.
Ja visst er dette fritt, men det betyr ikke at de tre ser bort fra melodien. De tre har sine egne idealer når det gjelder melodikk også og ikke minst er det dynamiske aspektet av voldsom betydning for dette uttrykket eller budskapet.
Vi snakker om tre ledestjerner innen den europeiske frijazzen og ”Gold Is Where You Find It” er nok en bekreftelse på at Schlippenbach Trio fortsatt har mye å melde og fortsatt sitter i førersetet for europeisk frijazz.

Tor Hammerø,, Norway, June 24, 2008



Vielleicht läst sich die Klasse dieser Musik auch so beschreiben: kommt rein, guckt raus, macht auf, passt. In Zuständen ziemlicher Erschöpfung bei vollster Energieanspannung - close to the brink of exhaustion at full range of energy sagen die Engländer dazu, zumindest sage ich das - korrespondiert dieser fantastische oberfreie Triojazz - und es ist Jazz im vollsten Bewusstsein des Wortes - kongenial dazu. Muss ich von mir selber sagen können, stimmt daher. Stimmungsmusik also? Natürlich - und ein Bekenntnis, diese Musik einfach mal als Popmusik zu begreifen, bevor die Hochkultur einmal mehr zugreift. Dass das erste Album von Schlippenbach, Parker und Lovens 1972 erschien, kann man sagen, aber dann sollte man einfach hören. HÖREN, nicht zuhören! Das geht auch mitten im Leben. Die Stücke? Je später, desto doller. "Cloudburst" - Hammerstück. "Three in One" - Waaah! Übrigens - Schlippenbach ist im April 70 geworden. Fröhliches Altern alle miteinander.
By Honker, TERZ 07/08


Bill Meyer, The Wire, London, July 2008


Interview von Christoph Wagner, Jazzthetik, Deutschland, Juni 2008



Bei Pakistani Pomade, dem Debut des SCHLIPPENBACH TRIO 1972, waren Paul Lovens, Evan Parker & Alexander von Schlippenbach 23, 28 und 34. 35 Jahre später versprüht das Trio den Charme zweier alter Mafiosi und des Weihnachtsmanns in Zivil. Zuletzt waren die drei Veteranen auf Winterreise (Psi, 2005) unterwegs gewesen. Gold is where you find it (Intakt CD 143) bezeugt eine Lebenserfahrung, der das Erkennen und Wertschätzen wichtiger ist als ewiges Suchen. Vielleicht ist es aber auch ein Koan. Die Drei hüten jedenfalls ihr einmal gefundenes Rezept wie einen Schatz, dem man Leben einhauchen muss, um ihn zum Glänzen zu bringen. Harmonie und Melodik werden klein geschrieben, 'Amorpha‘ und 'Cloudburst‘ groß, das Wechselspiel von Dynamik und Binnenrhythmik erzeugt eine eigene Harmonie des Miteinanders - 'Three In One‘. Tu, was du tun musst, aber tritt dabei keinem auf die Zehen. Parker knattert Tenor, Lovens rappelt Lovens und der Senior am Piano demonstriert einmal mehr die Kunst des 'Gerade-Genug‘. Beim heiteren 'Lekko‘ ist er so jung wie das Jetzt und älter als Plinkplonk. Dass sich der Auftakt 'Z.D.W.A.‘ als Zentrum für Demografischen Wandel oder Zünd Die Welt An lesen lässt, sagt gerade genug über dieses goldene Trio. [ba 59 rbd]
Rigobert Dittmann, Bad Alchemy, 59/2008


Freistil, Österreich, August 2008


Reiner Kobe, Jazzpodium, Deutschland, September 2008


“The trio that never dies”. C’est ainsi qu’Eugene Chadbourne qualifie l’Alexandre Von Schlippenbach Trio, cette formation née en 1970 et apparue pour la première fois sur disque en 1972 avec Pakistani Pomade, récemment réédité par Atavistic.
Dans le flot abondant et sans cesse renouvelé des parutions, Gold Is Where You Find It n’est pas un disque parmi les autres, mais la neuvième livraison en trente-six ans d’un trio d’ores et déjà inscrit dans l’histoire en tant que formation à la fois créatrice et emblématique d’un courant important : le free jazz européen. Contrairement à certains autres musiciens qui se rattachent peu ou prou à ce courant, le pianiste, compositeur, arrangeur, leader Alexander Von Schlippenbach, le saxophoniste Evan Parker et le batteur et percussionniste Paul Lovens n’ont jamais vraiment coupé les ponts avec le jazz et son histoire. Leur musique, improvisation d’autant plus libre qu’elle se passe de la sécurité d’une contrebasse, incorpore harmonieusement, avec un sens très sûr des proportions et un immense talent narratif, des techniques étendues, voire bruitistes, destinées à produire des textures inouïes ; c’est là leur versant « musique contemporaine », et les références subreptices à Monk, voire à Gershwin - outre des passages surprenants à base d’accords riches et classiques et même des lambeaux de mélodie ) sont leur côté « jazz » même si, prévenon les novices, cette musique qui n’est pas d’un abord facile réclame des oreilles aguerries.
Notons qu’après le disque inaugural, le trio n’a plus publié jusqu’à Detto fra di noi en 1981 ; entre temps, la contrebasse de feu Peter Köwald s’est durablement jointe aux trois hommes. C’est ensuite Alan Silva qui a assuré les bases et les basses au début des années 1980, et ce n’est qu’avec les années 1990 que le vénérable instrument a cessé de gronder aux côtés du trio. Les passionnantes notes de pochette, rédigées par le musicologue Ben Young, expliquent clairement ce choix : il est naturel, consubstantiel à la musique car la basse a pour rôle de renforcer l’harmonie et la pulsation, deux éléments secondaires, voire absents, de la musique du trio, dont les éléments structurants sont plutôt le jeu sur les dynamiques et le son.
Les questions de forme sont importantes en matière de free jazz. Le mauvais free est informe, le bon est aussi construit qu’il est libre, et c’est là son merveilleux paradoxe : une musique improvisée réservée aux compositeurs de l’instant, aux navigateurs qui aiment à larguer les amarres, à dévorer les grands espaces mais qui, à tout moment, savent précisément situer leur position sur la carte… Les formes empruntées par le trio sont donc tantôt ultra-courtes - Elf Bagatellen [1], les « Fuels » figurant sur Complete Combustion [2] – tantôt longues et très développées comme les deux sets live qui ont enflammé Amsterdam avec Swinging the Bim [3] ou les concerts de 2004 et 2005 au Loft de Cologne (Winterreise) [4].
Mais quelle que soit la durée des pièces, les musiciens répugnent à s’attarder sur une idée, à la répéter de manière obstinée : ce ne sont pas des hypnotiseurs qui visent à la transe, mais des feux-follets toujours aux aguets qui saisissent le moindre prétexte fourni par un partenaire pour entraîner le groupe dans une direction nouvelle : c’est pourquoi l’écoute doit être attentive. Il n’est pas question ici de délassement mais d’une suite de rebonds, de micro-événements qui montrent combien écoute et partage sont privilégiés entre ces artistes et exigent de l’auditeur une empathie qui lui donne l’impression de participer à la création : en cela, il s’agit d’une écoute active, voire recréatrice.
Ceux qui suivent les aventures du trio depuis longtemps seront donc impatients de savoir ce que devient en 2007 la musique de ces « trois sages » (ainsi que les qualifie le texte de pochette) et offriront avec impatience à leur lecteur chaîne hi-fi ce Gold Is Where You Find It qui leur promet des joies plus mémorables que le film du même nom, pourtant embelli par la présence d’Olivia de Havilland… Enregistré pour une fois en studio, comme le disque des débuts, il propose dix pièces majoritairement courtes (seules deux dépassent les dix minutes) qui mettent à profit cette durée — cf « Three in One » — pour visiter des dynamiques, des climats très différents : le jeu torrentiel d’Evan Parker en anime le début, puis une intervention minimaliste du pianiste dans l’aigu vient en modifier radicalement le cours, et Parker jette à nouveau un pavé dans la mare, propageant à son tour le feu dans le jeu de von schlippenbach, dont on admire au passage la remarquable technique très classique.
Dans les pièces plus courtes (« Lekko », « Slightly Flapping »), une seule idée est exploitée : comme toujours dans la musique libre, idée ne se traduit pas par thème : le but est ici d’improviser autour d’une pulsation régulière respectée par les trois musiciens. Cette pièce permet, comme les autres, d’admirer une fois de plus l’excellence instrumentale déployée tant par un pianiste virtuose, au toucher profond mais jamais dur que par le phrasé vif-argent du saxophoniste ou l’imagination coloriste du percussionniste. Mais quelles que soient durées et idées, on apprécie toujours l’incroyable variété de la musique, le naturel avec lequel elle est exposée, la fusion des musiciens, leur talent sans pareil pour vous saisir dès les premiers sons et ne plus vous lâcher.
Ce qu’apporte ce neuvième disque, au-delà de la qualité exceptionnelle du son studio au XXIè siècle (qui ne bénéficiera pas aux seuls audiophiles mais permettra à tous de savourer la beauté du son de ces artistes), c’est un champ de climats encore plus étendu, les précédents enregistrement se situant parfois dans un spectre plus étroit, plus agité. On jouira ici par exemple de moments de calme introspectif et mystérieux (« Amorpha » ou le magnifique début de « Gold Is Where You Find It ») que laissait déjà entrevoir, par exemple, le début de Winterreise.
Les aficionados de longue date n’auront pas attendu les chroniques pour acquérir ce disque : aux auditeurs aguerris, déjà familiers de Cecil Taylor, du trio de Jimmy Giuffre ou des dernières œuvres de Coltrane, on conseillera de poursuivre avec ce trio leur ruée vers l’or, car ils le trouveront sûrement ici…
Laurent Poiget, Citizen Jazz, France, 2008

[1] FMP 1991
[2] FMP – 1999
[3] FMP – 1998
[4] Psi – 2007


Le Schlippenbach trio s’est formé en 1972, ce qui en fait le plus ancien des ensembles de musique improvisée encore régulièrement en activité. Toujours composé de ses trois fondateurs, soit Alexander von Schlippenbach, piano, Evan Parker, saxophones et Paul Lovens, percussions, il nous offre, avec Gold Is Where You Find It, un nouveau témoignage sur une aventure musicale et humaine unique. Composé de 10 pièces (dont seulement deux improvisations revendiquées !), l’album conserve la fraîcheur des débuts et dispense toujours l’inaltérable magie de ses prédécesseurs.
Philippe Elhem, FOCUS/VIF numéro 40, 3 octobre 2008, Belgium


Geoff Andrew, Jazzwise, September 2008, UK


Kazue Yokoi Jazz Hohyo, Japan, Piano Trio 2007-2008 Special


Let's just get this out of the way: the Schlippenbach Trio is one of the longest-active groups in improvised music, formed in 1970 and working and recording fairly regularly over the last thirty-eight years. Recordings like Pakistani Pomade (FMP, 1972) were full of a combination of fierce acrobatics and serious brawn that was a far cry from the contemporary Brötzmann/Van Hove/Bennink trio, much less anything else on that side of the pond. But in the years since "With Forks and Hope," certainly things have changed in the trio's approach. On Gold Is Where You Find It, the trio's newest disc and its first for the Intakt label, saxophonist Evan Parker sticks to tenor, and his gruff sound gives the set a solid, foot-down consistency, even as it's carried along by drummer Paul Lovens' pulsing detail. The opening improvisation, "Z.D.W.A." begins with slap tongue and damped percussive rattle; Schlippenbach's chords are gauzy, light and almost hesitant, extrapolating a singsong progression, piano-roll fragments and Monkishness erupting as Parker and Lovens apply daubs around him. Unaccompanied low rumbles build into Jelly Roll Morton four minutes in, then kaleidoscope into Indent-era Cecil Taylorisms as Lovens enters with coppery thrash. It's a delicate elision of stylistic approaches that's natural and almost seamless. Sure, the pounding rhythm-field is still there, but Schlippenbach's integration of instrumental history into a free, collective context is more audible than ever.
There's long been a push-pull between longer pieces and bagatelles in the group's repertoire; indeed, pieces like "Range" (recorded at the 1974 Moers Festival, partially issued on Three Nails Left, FMP) were far too long to fit on an LP side. Yet the abovementioned Pakistani Pomade included very short pieces, ditto the "Fuels" series on Complete Combustion (FMP, 1998). This latest set includes six pieces around the five-minute mark or under, valuable encapsulations of the detail – there's that word again – in their music that range from the playful tone rows of "Slightly Flapping" and the clicks and pops of "K.SP" to the title track's miniature concerto. Some of these short pieces sound almost like they're extracted from a larger whole: it's a demonstration of their ability to instantly locate moments of complete empathy, within the briefest span. A rare thing, indeed.
Clifford Allen,, November 2008

Enzo Pavoni, Jazz Magazine, Italy, November 2008


Reiner Kobe, Jazz'n'more, Zürich, November 2008


Ralf Bei der Kellen, Jazzzeit, Wien, November 2008



Von „drei weisen Männern“ ist in den Liner-Notes die Rede – völlig zu Recht. Das seit 36 Jahren existierende Trio breitet sein Können hier mit dermaßen uneitler Lässigkeit aus, dass es eine wahre Freude ist. Mit ephemeren Gesten werden Free-Jazz-Haikus hingetuscht, dann karnevalesk aufgelegte Verspieltheit in 102 Sekunden gepresst, dann wiederum nimmt man sich eine Viertelstunde, um auf große, ereignisreiche Fahrt zu gehen. Oder: Ein Gongglissando löst einen mehr gedachten als gespielten Groove aus, über dem der Geist von Thelonious Monk schwebt. Wer hier nicht fündig wird, ist echt verloren!
Klaus Nüchtern, Falter, Wien, 28.5 2008



More than 70 years old, pianist Alexander von Schlippenbach is one more proof of Steve Lacy’s adage that “free jazz keeps you young”. A professional musician since 1962, Berlin-based Schlippenbach has maintained his level of creativity in various contexts, most prominently in the trans-European Globe Unity Orchestra (GUO) and his trio with saxophonist Evan Parker and drummer Paul Lovens.
Consistency may be another attribute of quality as well as metaphoric youthfulness, since these CDs – one celebrating the GUO’s 40th birthday and the other recorded in the year of the Schlippenbach Trio (ST)’s 35th anniversary – confirm that the pianist and his associates are still on top of their game(s).
Taking them one by one, death and disagreements have taken their toll on the GUO’s personnel, but the 15-piece aggregation – sans bass player like the ST – holds to the high standards set by its predecessors. Mixing older compositions with newer pieces, such as the pianist-composed title track, solo space is given to every band member, who range from GU veterans such as trumpeter Kenny Wheeler and multi-reedist Gerd Dudek to newbies such as American trombonist Jeb Bishop and French trumpeter/flugelhornist Jean-Luc Capozzo.
Some of tracks are practically bagatelles, with the real meat in the more lengthy explorations. Still there is period charm in the rhythmic punctuation, complete with screaming high-note trumpet lines – likely from Capozzo – that enliven “Bavarian Calypso”’s cacophonous polyphony. Plus “Nodago”, a reflective showcase for Wheeler, who composed it, proves that the old Woody Herman-Stan Kenton-style big band backing can be legit. Nonetheless, the late British trombonist Paul Rutherford manages to counter nostalgia here with a burbling multiphonic solo that contrasts contralto and basso tones.
A close cousin to the calypso is Steve Lacy’s “The Dumps”. Thelonious Monk-like in its interpretation it features oomph-pah-pah brass, slithering reed timbres and high-frequency rolling chording from Schlippenbach. Here Dudek expels a continuously breathed circular soprano saxophone solo with more grit than Parker brings to similar outputs. Bishop’s slippery slide positions and tongued pressure layer the backing along with Capozzo’s mouse squeaks and behind-the-beat grace notes, which are given further impetus by Lovens’ cymbal spanks and rim shots. In contrast, Dörner’s concluding knitted capillary tones appear to leech sound as much from metal stress and throat scraping as from what is pushed through the bell.
Another showcase, Wilem Breuker’s “Out of Burtons Songbooks”, from 1973, makes obvious the GU’s early style-spanning. The processional piano introduction could have been lifted from a chamber recital, while Schlippenbach’s subsequent exchanges with Dudek outline the sort of interdependent dissonance that seems a lot closer to Joe Henderson’s and Herbie Hancock’s work for Blue Note, then contemporary European experimentation. In-the-moment interface is thus left to Bishop and bass clarinetist Rudi Mahall’s whack-a-mole-like duet, where smears, vibratos and trills in all registers are immediately answered and intensified.
Still the GU’s 21st Century identity is made clearest on the pianist’s title composition. Fabricating the piece from drum pops, brass plunger tones, slurred reed chirps, zig-zag trumpeting and irregular triplets from the piano, serendipitously its resolution involves members of the ST. Schlippenbach is appropriately staccato and cross-handed in his playing; Lovens wallops cracks, drags and crashes his percussion; while Parker unleashes hummingbird-swift sliding, slurping and triple tonguing. Trombonist George Lewis’ side-to-side slurs and doubled tongue flutters extend the line still further.
Gold Is Where You Find It’s title tune provides an equivalently definitive description of the 21st Century ST. Coupled with the subsequent “K. SP”, it exposes the trio strategy of tick-tock wooden drags and positioned licks plus cymbal pops from Lovens; echoing strummed piano chords plus bowed, twanged and stopped prepared piano strings from Schlippenbach; and squeezed irregular note clusters and unstated squeaks and breaths form Parker.
Like the GU, the trio improvisations obliquely refer to antecedents as well as the future. For instance, there’s a section on “Three in One”, when Schlippenbach’s key-clipping is so obviously Monk-like – the American pianist is an admitted influence – that Parker’s continuously uncoiling chirps and split-tone asides start to resemble the tenor saxophone styling of Johnny Griffin. Meanwhile the pianist circles through a variety of chord and cluster coloration as cascading high-energy feints and fills share space with wriggling note clusters and off-handed patterns.
“Cloudburst” – not the Lambert-Hendricks & Ross vocal showcase – in instead a moody nocturne where circumspect tenor saxophone timbres meet rebounds, pops and temperate cymbal lacerations, with the tune accelerating in andante increments, until it climaxes in kinetic cadenzas from Schlippenbach as well as tough saxophone cadences from Parker.
Finally there’s “Z.D.W.A.”, the impressive group improvisation that begins this recital. Balanced on Lovens’ distinctive locution of rolls and rebounds plus irregular cymbal shattering, the pianist expresses himself in different styles and tempos. Moving from dreamy romanticism to rolling stride in his solos, bass pedal pressure and chord clusters gradually give way to playful double-timing. Similarly Parker’s tongue-slapping and tone-scraping attain his characteristic line-and-pattern extensions before downshifting with the others to cumulative silence.
Extrapolating Parker’s composition title “Three in One”, the Schlippenbach Trio has maintained its power over many years by sympathetically amalgamating each other’s skills. What’s more, even with a constantly shifting cast, the Globe Unity has performed a similar task. Perhaps then it’s this organizational flair, along with his choice of compositions, and situations that welcome new ideas, which accounts for the pianist’s musical youthfulness.
Ken Waxman, Jazz Word, November 2008


Michael Rosenstein, Signal to Noise, USA, Winter 2009


Although the music of (3) is coming from the same general Free-Jazz direction as Cohen’s group, I found the results more satisfying.
The fact that the three veterans have been at it since 1972 may have a lot to do with it. As alluded to in the liner notes, this trio’s music has undergone a sustained natural evolution through the years and, in addition to the growth of the band’s collective intuition, they have also learned to avoid many of the pitfalls inherent
in totally improvised music. For one thing, nothing is allowed to go on too long. Like Webern, who in contrast to his legions of slavish devotees in the wake of the Second Viennese School, the trio has embraced the virtue of brevity. As the notes indicate, the musicians seem to have developed the happy knack of determining when a piece has gone on just long enough. Also, the tracks (which are attributed to individual members) may not all be outright compositions
in the traditional sense, are nonetheless differentiated enough between themselves to provide a welcome sense of variety. Much has been written about Parker before and I’ll only note that his playing here reinforces the sense that he is one of the finest saxophonists playing Free Jazz today. Similarly, Schlippenbach and Lovens demonstrate that they too are among the best contemporary practitioners of this challenging idiom. Recommended.
David Kane, Cadence, USA, Jan-Feb-Mar 2009


Alexandre Pierrepont, L'art du Jazz, France, 2009


Marc Sarrazy, Improjazz, France, Janvier 2010

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