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(FMP 0430 / FMP CD 129)
An intense, revealing outing from this piano master. At the time of these recordings, in 1977, Schlippenbach was between apartments, and, as Kurt Gottschalk wrote in his review of the CD release, "the four-day recording session was undertaken in the basement of a Berlin youth club, where he was able to install his own grand piano. The windowless room became a cocoon for his explorations, and the sense of discovery with which they were made is apparent upon listening today." In his liner notes for the CD, Schlippenbach writes of being in competition with himself at the piano; we emerge the winners.
"A fine set of early solo pieces by the great Alexander von Schlippenbach. The pianist is heard here in a state of youthful, perhaps even desperate, exuberance over the course of four pieces...."
-Kurt Gottschalk, The Squid's Ear
"...demonstrates Schlippenbach’s overwhelming diversity and lyricism in a tradition he has celebrated throughout his long career. The disc whirs into existence with the cascading flurries of 'Brooks,' delicious downward spirals vying for prominence with block chords and clusters that invoke some of Cecil Taylor’s solo material. Yet, Schlippenbach’s allegiance to the jazz tradition is evident in the way little motifs coalesce into long flowing lines; they arc, merge and diverge with the stunning clarity of free bop. The occasional silence is breathless, preparatory only for the next series of vertical dyads or another linear traversal of the keyboard.... a stirring album, intensely muscular and lyrical by turn. Its return to the catalog is cause for celebration."
-Marc Medwin, Dusted Magazine
"...the sustained hammer-bustin’ torrents of 'Brooks' and 'Lhotse' are riveting examples of Schlippenbach’s virtuosity.... Schlippenbach seems determined to get beyond the shadows of free jazz and post-serial composition, and not just splice their genes together. He is particularly successful in the two versions of 'The Onliest – The Loneliest,' where he uses quirky Monk-like rhythms to animate sparse motives, which he then elongates into scurrying right hand lines, blunt-force chords and thunderous bass figures played in octaves. "
-Bill Shoemaker, Point of Departure
"Fierce and outwardly chaotic though some of these exercises are, the abiding impression is of form and structure albeit somewhat below immediate audibility. More than just a period piece, this offers important insight into the evolution of a major European musician."
-Brian Morton, The Wire
"Piano Solo '77 is an intense ride through the instrument's paces, the record's austere gray cover giving little indication of the secrets contained within."
-Clifford Allen, All About Jazz
Alexander von Schlippenbach: piano
Recorded by Alexander von Schlippenbach and Jost Gebers February 18th to 21st, 1977, at the FMP-Studio in Berlin.
CD mastering by Jonas Bergler.
Produced by Alexander von Schlippenbach and Jost Gebers.
Cover design by Alexander von Schlippenbach and Jost Gebers.
Photograph by Kurt Staudt.
Note: the CD edition/compilation represented here combines the original LP (FMP 0430) and adds one track -- "The Onliest - The Loneliest 2" -- which originally appeared on the Globe Unity Orchestra LP "Pearls" (FMP 0380).
supported by 11 fans who also own “Piano Solo '77”
Taking 'aural stocktake' recently, it struck me how pervasive Kris Davis' playing was on my recent listening...I'd almost taken her for granted...sorry Kris, I won't do that again!
This is a wonderful album/project and lets her playing shine...lots of essential duets here...so pleased to hear her say (and confirm my suspicion) that Paul Bley was an inspiration...he's a cornerstone of my listening and it seems that Kris is becoming one too! John Cratchley