Wednesday, November 13, 2013
KEITH TIPPETT – Mujician I and II - Live At Berlin 1981/1986 (CD-1998)
Label: FMP – FMP CD 95
Format: CD, Compilation; Country: Germany - Released: 1998
Style: Free Improvisation
Tracks 1, 2 and 5 - 3/4 December 1981 in Berlin
Tracks 3 and 4 - 13 June 1986 in Berlin
New CD edition/compilation of the LPs SAJ-37 & SAJ-55, on basis of the original recording tapes.
Composed By, Piano – Keith Tippett
Mastered By – Jonas Bergler
Photography By – Dagmar Gebers
Recorded By, Producer, Design, Layout – Jost Gebers
Given that there are so many recordings of pianist Keith Tippett with his partner, vocalist extraordinaire (some would say superhuman) Julie Tippett and his many large ensemble projects, it's easy to let slip what a truly amazing improvising soloist he is. These first two volumes, recorded in 1981 and 1986, respectively, in Berlin and issued as separate LPs are seemingly the work of one man as an orchestra. The nearly 11-minute "All Time, All Time" begins in the middle registers and, ostinato, goes for the depth of the pianos reaches, as if looking for notes that lie somewhere not between the keys on the piano, but the resonances they make together in the air. The playing is so fast and so dense one has to wonder how many fingers he has and where he comes up with so many ideas so quickly, especially playing with whole tones. While many would be tempted to compare Tippett's playing to Cecil Taylor's, they would be wrong. Tippett is not so much interested in bending the reason for the piano's existence as an instrument as in turning it in on itself and using its sonic possibilities to create new ones from the limitations imposed on it by physical structure. It's not about questing for Tippett, it's about listening and creation. The guy will put blocks of wood inside the instrument and let the vibrations move them around; he'll pick up the lid and blow on the strings. And yet, it's not about extremes; all of this, all of these shamanic elements that Tippett employs are very musical. The speed, the intensity, the singing and bowing, the extended beyond comprehension chord voicings, and harmonic adventures all serve music, not soloist. This is playing on an ego-less level, where musician becomes magician because of the thing he serves, not how it serves him. And what the listener gets is an encounter with music as spoken through one who embodies what it actually is, which is something rare and beautiful. Having these two recordings on one CD, and its final part on another, is a gift. These solo sessions are essential not only for those all-too-few Tippett fans, but for anyone interested in either the piano or music as magical endeavor. And for those curious about Tippett, this is the very best place to start.
_ Review by THOM JUREK
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