2017 WhyPlayJazz (RS032LP), Vinyl LP + MP3 Album Download
Alexander von Schlippenbach (piano), Rudi Mahall (clarinet, bass clarinet), Kasper Tom Christiansen (drums)
All compositions by Kasper Tom, Alexander von Schlippenbach and Rudi Mahall. Recorded October 17, 2016 by by Christian Betz at Berlinaudio Berlin, Germany. Mixed and mastered by Christian Betz. Design and artwork by Michael Schultz. Photo by Ozge Balkan. With support from DJBFA, Koda's Cultural Funds, Dansk Musiker Forbund, Dansk Artist Forbund and Dansk Solistforbund.
This is the debut album of a trio of heavyweights – all three champions of improvised music in Europe. Three generations – Alexander von Schlippenbach, Rudi Mahall and Kasper Tom – are united under the motto "Change is the Only Constant".
This is the debut album of a trio heavyweights – all three champions of improvised music in Europe. Legendary pianist Alexander von Schlippenbach qualifies as one of the most important representatives of first-generation of European free jazz. His colleague, the exceptional bass clarinetist Rudi Mahall, is likewise an innovative improviser who, together with Schlippenbach, has set benchmarks with the Globe Unity Orchestra as well as with his Monk interpretations on record and in concerts. In recent years, the youngest of the three, Kasper Tom has accomplished the leap into the European Avant-garde scene. Tom’s play is inspired by the explorations and discoveries of contemporary music, while it still honors tradition, and his compositions have a remarkable feel for distinctive melodies.
There is a refreshing interaction between the three musicians – each one has an equal share in the album’s success. The borders between spontaneous improvisation and precise, focused compositions are deliberately blurred. The three know how to play around the melodies and dramatic elements, as their quick, provocative interplay
flirts with disruptive structures. New ideas are embraced with open arms; the shifting dynamics and deliberate risk-taking on the song "Change is the Only Constant" speaks from the heart.
Von Schlippenbach bursts forth with beautiful long arpeggios and harmonic chords, shaping the musical flow. Mahall takes over the role of storyteller, as he narrates a series of adventurous tales expressed in a barrage of dramatic notes. Kasper Tom envisions his role as something more than a repetitive timekeeper. Even so, he is able to fulfill his role as the band’s rhythmic foundation. His grounded approach transmutes rhythmic patterns into a multicultural adventure.
Brilliant interaction throughout the play, mutual respect and attentiveness. minimalism and elegance – these are the real spiritual qualities in this project. Improvised music can’t be better.
As the CD title says, the open window here is suitably abstract. But atonality for its own sake is as missing here as nuance would have been in a 1930s Krupa drum extravaganza. [...] Historically this trio’s sound may not be as influential as Goodman’s was, but the performance here is of the same high quality.Ken Waxman, jazzword.com