It's a terrific ride from start to finish.
Chris Jones 2008
It's an apt title for a band whose semi-extemporised, dense sound world relies as often on happenstance as on blinding technique and collective purpose. Now approaching their fourth decade as a touring and recording unit; Mssrs Schlippenbach, Parker and Lovens follow up last year's live document, Winterreise, with a studio foray that benefits from both some exquisite engineering and some of the aforementioned serendipity.
Don't be fooled though. the nature of so-xcalled 'free' jazz has an intrinsic tendency to throw all but the most seasoned players. Just one listen to Alexander von Schlippenbach's piano on a track like makes you realise that those decaying, half-dense chords could only emerge from the fingers of a man for who the entire history of jazz has relevance. Yet the entire trio still exhibit the fearlessness required to explore every aspect of their chosen instrument's range of noise-producing capability. On the title track for instance the pianist finds the gold under the lid of the piano itself.
Evan Parker here restricts himself to the tenor, his tone relatively polite in such sonically competitive surroundings , yet while his squeals and squawks may be restrained, they can be incredibly nimble. he's just demonstrating the supreme talent of listening to his fellows. Lovens also rattles and bumps but always in deference to the tumbling acrobatics of the keys or horn. It's this respect between the three musicians that makes this ensemble such a joy to listen to.
Lovens also rattles and bumps but always in deference to the tumbling acrobatics of the keys. Only on Cloudburst does the ensemble really let rip, but each number has its moments of abandon. Unlike previous work, every track features all three players and is all the more compelling for it: the band always works best when all elements are brought into play. It's a terrific ride from start to finish.