Alexander von Schlippenbach

Digger's Harvest

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One of the few of the intense avant-garde jazz pianists to develop a style largely free of Cecil Taylor's influence, von Schlippenbach has mellowed only slightly with age. These seven duos with drummer Tony Oxley find both of these marvelous musicians in fine form, the energy level rarely abating. Von Schlippenbach is far from all crash and burn, however, as he slips in clips from bygone eras along his journeys. He can be introspective, too, when he focuses on sound and timbre. Oxley's extensive experience interacting with Taylor pays off, as he follows von Schlippenbach closely, never letting him stray too far. As usual, the drummer gives a lesson, if not a live seminar in his art, both as accompanist and as soloist. Unobtrusive, yet continuously creative, Oxley is the Max Roach of free jazz. When paired with von Schlippenbach, the results can be -- as they are here -- a successful integration of continuous invention and refined sensibility.

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