[FMP] Schlippenbach Trio X 3

Photo by Dagmar Gebers.

We’re proud to offer downloads of three essential releases from The Schlippenbach Trio. Simply put, they showcase the band at the height of their powers and combine to make a strong case that this is one of the great ensembles in the history of the music. 

While these albums were previously available on CD and garnered reams of praise from astute critics, they’ve bypassed many potential fans due to limited distribution and import prices. So don’t get caught sleeping twice.

Schlippenbach describes the trio’s approach: “We produce long stretches of unceasing arcs of tension, balance, and correlation without employing themes, changes, lyrical forms, pre-given meters, and tempi.” Cadence says this about the long-running band: “Back-to-back listening to any of this trio’s recordings reveals various shades of difference. Over the course of time the trio has shed its sheer density in favor of a more diverse group dynamic.”

As for the finer points of each album, we’ll let the critics do the talking:  

“This is everything it ought to be. This high-test modern jazz trio taped a 1998 gig at Amsterdam’s Bimhuis, and the members were happy enough with the results to release a double CD containing both sets in their entirety. Only a good jazz group could get away with something like this; so fear not, the Schlippenbach Trio is not just good, it is great. After nearly three decades on the road, this is the group’s best yet.” — Eugene Chadbourne, All Music Guide (4½ stars)

“German pianist Alex von Schlippenbach’s long running trio with saxophonist Evan Parker and drummer Paul Lovens is everything jazz is supposed to be about: acrobatic poise, precise articulation at the speed of sound, and staggering technique married to pure instinct. Swinging The BIM is a wonderful blurred snapshot of them in midflight that barely lets up from start to finish. If these players lost momentum, they would simply fall from the skies.” — The Wire

“This night certainly didn’t lack for energy and intensity. But it stands out with its subtlety and quicksilver shading. As always, the Schlippenbach Trio yields pleasures both immediate and lasting.” — Cadence

“So why is Swinging the BIM so extraordinary? For a start because the three do exactly as advertised: they out-and out swing the BIM. Essentially what you have here is three men at the top of their craft, listening and reacting to one another in a series of solos, duos and trios.” – Jazz Weekly

“As radical as this seminal trio must have sounded when their first release Pakistani Pomade (FMP 0110) came out two decades ago, this new live recording still sounds fresh, ferociously awe-inspiring, and energized. Over the years, these three have evolved into a telepathic unit. This is collective improvisation of the highest order as the three weave a seamless flow of ideas, simultaneously driving the music forward while acutely tuning in to each other. Each player leaves plenty of room for the others as the music metamorphoses through various passages of duos and trios. This release is a paean to extended collective improvisation by masters of the form and reminded me of why I was so energized by this type of music when I first began listening to it.” — Cadence

Physics? This is more like a plate of steaming clams, or better yet a big pot of hot fish soup. It is 74 minutes of thick, steaming music played by the group that never dies, served up in two lengthy courses. One can sense a link between the final period of Coltrane, for example, and the playing of Evan Parker, Alexander von Schlippenbach, and Paul Lovens, although eliminated is the need for grandiose theme statements to kick the jams into gear. Since modern jazz in the early ’90s had been largely running away frightened from the late Coltrane model and retreating into more conservative, commercial realms, one could say this is the trio that is physically carrying the history of jazz forward. Whatever they are doing, it’s top notch.” — Eugene Chadbourne, All Music Guide

“One of [1993]’s most enduing releases.” — The Wire

“What astonishes me is how fresh and unclichéd the music on Complete Combustion sounds. The first half of the program is a continuous 45 minute performance of masterful breadth and scope. But the second half, “Fuels 1 – 7”, consists of seven pieces ranging in time from two to eight minutes. Either way the listener chooses to go, he is rewarded with music of power, grace and beauty. Complete Combustion is one of the most satisfying releases by this trio.” — Cadence

“The schematic of a disassembled motor that adorns the cover of this disc offers an opportune analogy for the Schlippenbach Trio. Powered by a precisely tuned collective engine designed both for speed as well as supreme maneuverability these three Brahmins of improvised music once again take to the stage and clock a land speed record. Programmatically speaking the disc serves as something of blending of their two previous FMP discs, exploring both long-form improvisation and the short-form over a very generous 75 minutes.” — Derek Taylor, One Final Note

“The Europeans have made a record that is brilliantly soulful and joyously chaotic, but no matter what they say, it still sounds like jazz to me.” — Thom Jurek, All Music Guide (4 1/2 stars)

“The head-on impact of Schlippenbach’s pummeled chords and incandescent clusters, Parker’s stinging buzzes and thick brays, and Loven’s innovative percussion (imagine dumping boxes of junk down a flight of stairs and hearing polyrhythms), remains one of the most powerful, exhilarating sounds in improvised music.” — Bill Shoemaker, Jazz Times

“Parker and Schlippenbach give signature performances throughout, recognizably themselves at every turn, yet never formulaic or detrimental to the trio’s identity. If the term free jazz still has any currency, it’s down to vibrantly charged and inventive recordings like these.” — The Wire

Category Alexander von Schlippenbach, commerce, Evan Parker, FMP, Paul Lovens