First-generation pioneers of European free improvisation return to Chicago | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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First-generation pioneers of European free improvisation return to Chicago


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Pianist Alexander von Schlippenbach, saxophonist Evan Parker, and percussionist Paul Lytton are all members of the first generation of musicians from England and Europe to respond to the example of American free jazz with proposals of their own. Each man has attained singular mastery of his instrument, and between them they’ve stripped the jazz vernacular out of their musical language, added junkyard sounds, and mapped out the connections between jazz and 12-tone classical composition (to name just three of the creative strategies they’ve pursued). And they’ve done much of their best work in one another's company. An identically named Schlippenbach Trio that includes the pianist, Parker, and German drummer Paul Lovens has carried on a semiannual touring and recording partnership since 1972, sustaining a dialogue between ultraconcentrated, collectively conceived statements and extended performances fueled by an unflagging anticipation of one another's ideas it’s yielded some of the greatest free jazz to come from across the Atlantic. Parker and Lytton have been playing together for even longer, achieving music of extraordinary complexity in both acoustic and electroacoustic settings. This configuration has visited Chicago twice before, in 1998 and 2003; the double CD America 2003 (Psi), which was recorded during two other gigs on the latter tour, flows inexorably from one possibility to the next, including jagged juxtapositions of density and space and a bit of serialist boogie-woogie.   v

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