Alexander von SchlippenbachView in iTunes
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One of Europe's premier free jazz bandleaders, pianist Alexander von Schlippenbach's music mixes free and contemporary classical elements, with his slashing solos often the link between the two in his compositions. Schlippenbach formed the Globe Unity Orchestra in 1966 to perform the piece "Globe Unity," which had been commissioned by the Berliner Jazztage. He remained involved with the orchestra into the '80s, with the exception of one period from 1971 to 1972. Schlippenbach began taking lessons at eight, and studied at the Staatliche Hochschule for Musik in Cologne with composers Bernd Alois Zimmermann and Rudolf Petzold. He played with Gunther Hampel in 1963, and was in Manfred Schoof's quintet from 1964 to 1967. Schlippenbach began heading various bands after 1967, among them a 1970 trio with Evan Parker and Paul Lovens (both were also in his quartet along with bassist Peter Kowald), and a duo with drummer/vocalist Sven-Ake Johansson which they co-formed in 1976. Schlippenbach has also given many solos performances. In the late '80s, he formed the Berlin Contemporary Jazz Orchestra, which has featured a number of esteemed European avant-garde jazz musicians including Evan Parker, Paul Lovens, and, as the orchestra's second pianist, Misha Mengelberg, then Aki Takase. Alexander von Schlippenbach has most frequently recorded for FMP, although Japo, Saba, and Po Torch have also released some of his work. In 2000, the Atavistic label was added to this list with their reissue of the Schlippenbach Quartet's 1975 album Hunting the Snake. ~ Ron Wynn & Joslyn Layne