“This is arguably Keith Tippett’s most accessible and consistently excellent recording for many years. It benefits from several instantly and hauntingly memorable tunes, universally superb perfomances all round and the brief penultimate track is adorned by Julie Tippett’s irresistible vocals. Very highly recommended and probably gets my vote for new album of the year. You may think the above somewhat hyperbolic, but I assure you it ain’t.” – Roger F, Organissimo
Pianist / composer Tippett needs little introduction to those with an ear to the ground in the world of creative music. Appearing initially on the London jazz scene in the 1960’s, Keith quickly forged a reputation as a formidable player, bandleader and composer. His large scale work Septober Energy for the 50 piece ensemble Centipede remains a benchmark recording in the history of this music. Subsequently his work as a founding member of ensembles as diverse as Mujician, Ovary Lodge, leading The Ark Orchestra, the Septet and the Tapestry Orchestra, his duo work with Julie Tippetts plus appearances as an improvising piano soloist have consolidated his position as a major figure in both improvised and composed music. In 2016 he remains as active as ever on the international stage.
The Nine Dances Of Patrick O’Gonogon was commissioned by Richard Wiltshire and was recorded by the Keith Tippett Octet at Real World Studio in the UK.
This new suite is inspired by themes from Irish folk music and was written for his new octet, which includes several alumni of the Royal Academy of Music’s jazz programme along with a long-time collaborator, the drummer Peter Fairclough, and the London-based Italian trumpeter Fulvio Sigurta.
Fulvio Sigurta (trumpet/flugel)
Sam Mayne (alto and soprano saxes/clarinet/flute)
James Gardiner-Bateman (alto sax/flute)
Kieran Mcleod (trombone) Rob Harvey (trombone)
Tom McCredie (bass) Peter Fairclough (drums/percussion)
Keith Tippett (piano/composer)
Julie Tippetts (voice, lyrics).
Inspired by Keith Tippett’s memories of Irish folk music…finely balances freewheeling exuberance with lyrical reflection. Celtic jazz can be a tricky proposition, but Tippett avoids kitsch, deftly folding the folk elements into his modernist compositional framework…Tippett has a rich palette to work with and his orchestrations often make the group sound larger than it is, while leaving space for individual voices to shine. “The Dance Of The Return Of The Swallows” begins with the full ensemble taking a polka at jaunty angles before a bass solo ushers in a wonderfully hairy collective improvisation. On “The Dance Of The Sheer Joy Of It All” Tippett swings a jig giving the modal melody something of a South African township jazz feel. The spirit of Mingus animates “The Danace Of The Bike Ride From Shinanagh Bridge With The Wind At His Back” which begins as a brakes-off dash before settling into a gentle flute-led cruise. The Octet soon up the stakes however, with Tippett taking wide diatonic steps on the piano over a funky Latin swing. The ballads are a delight. Luxuriating in its wistfulness, “The Dance Of The Walk With The Sun On His Back” finds Tippett in an Ellingtonian mood, his expansive chord voicings and graceful fills casting Sam Mayne’s classy alto in relief…”The Dance Of Her Returning” appears in two versions. On the first, Sigurta’s flugelhorn gives the piece a warmly wistful Mediterranean air, before Fairclough’s martial drum rolls reframe the piece as an Irish soldier’s lament. The second features a Julie Tippetts vocal, her lyrics reflecting the generosity of spirit that characterises the suite as a whole. – STEWART SMITH, THE WIRE
No surprise, given the title, that Tippett is inspired by Irish folk music in a suite that moves through three movements of three dances each. It’s wrapped with a coda which features a moment of almost tear-provoking sentiment (in the best sense of the word) in Julie Tippetts’ hushed vocals. As you’d expect, there are moments of crazed free group improvisation as the dances build (or break down) but tippett largely sticks to written through passages spiked with instrumental breaks and his ever vigourous keys. There’s an almost Mingus-like feel to much of the writing / arranging, as the band are given a frame to rise and fall against in their own group improvs. And how they rise to the occasion! Tippett has brought together a host of largely RAM graduates, and those who contend that conservatoire students can’t rip it up like old time jazz graduates of the road may be pleasantly surprised. Well worth the explore if only for Tippetts’ lustrous late entrance. – ANDY ROBSON, JAZZWISE
This is arguably Keith Tippett’s most accessible and consistently excellent recording for many years. It benefits from several instantly and hauntingly memorable tunes, universally superb perfomances all round and the brief penultimate track is adorned by Julie Tippett’s irresistible vocals. Very highly recommended and probably gets my vote for new album of the year. You may think the above somewhat hyperbolic, but I assure you it ain’t. – Roger F, Organissimo
This is an album by veteran and truly legendary British pianist / composer Keith Tippett, recorded with his octet which also includes Italian trumpeter Fulvio Sigurta, saxophonists Sam Mayne and James Gardiner, trombonists Kieran McLeod and Rob Harvey, bassist Tom McCredie and drummer Peter Fairclough. Tippett’s wife, vocalist Julie Tippetts, guests on one track. Apart from Sigurta, Fairclough and the leader of course, the other members of the octet are young players, graduates of RAM (Royal Academy of Music) who represent the new generation of British Jazz musicians. Keith Tippett was there at the very epicenter of the British Jazz revolution and emancipation almost form the very beginning. His unique approach to music, unrestrained chutzpah to ignore all restrictions and constant pursue of uncharted territory have characterized his musical creations over the years, moving in scope from solo piano works to music for large orchestras. He is also one of the very few British Jazz artists, who remained active, recorded ferociously and maintained his position in the vanguard of the British Jazz to this very day. As I am getting older the longing for the Golden Decade (1965-1975) of the British Jazz becomes notably more intense. Although I keep my ears close to the grapevine and follow what is happening on the British scene at all times, it seems to me that the spark of genius, the inventiveness and the joy of creation have all noticeably withered over time. Of course it is also possible that my personal perception of music has changed, or I am becoming senile and overwhelmed by nostalgic silliness, and yet the statistics are overwhelming: in my collection there are thousands of British Jazz albums recorded during (and around) the Golden Decade and only a few hundreds of albums recorded since. It that a coincidence? This album, however, is array of hope, which proves that not everything is lost and great music is still being made today. The overall character of this album, its concept and execution are all deeply rooted in the Golden Age tradition. The music smoothly incorporates composed music and improvised passages, it is melody based, but hides the melodic threads behind veils of multilayered arrangements and improvised parts, it incorporates folkloristic influences and it swings beautifully, but only occasionally; in short exactly the same characteristics that stood behind British Jazz some fifty years ago. As the album’s title suggests, Tippett re-examines and re-visits typical Irish motifs, some clearly audible other much more subtly concealed within the long suite-like composition. Although broken into separate tracks, the music on this album constitutes a complete, coherent and continuous entity, which can only be treated as a complete musical statement. There are plenty of great performances here, between the brilliant Tippett’s solo passages to the powerful octet statements. The dynamic range of this music keeps the listener in constant tension, trying to guess what the composer’s next move will bring. But as usual with Tippett, he is full of surprises, which means that there are no dull moments here.
Is Tippett getting mellower in time? Perhaps this is the case, as this album is certainly more “listener friendly”, melodic and simply wonderfully beautiful than most of his work so far. This attitude was quite surprising for me, but since it works brilliantly well with the more complex parts of this album, it makes me perfectly happy. Being a free spirit, musically or otherwise, and yet at the same time being able to communicate with a large audience is a rare and precious quality, and Tippett proves he’s got it all. Overall this is a brilliant, deeply moving piece of music, beautifully executed and standing up to the highest aesthetic echelons of British Jazz, established half a Century ago and still very much valid today. I can’t imagine any serious British Jazz connoisseur missing this album in his collection. Absolutely essential listening! – Adam Baruch, The Soundtrack Of My Life
A welcome creative breeze – CADENCE
Like Charles Mingus, one of his influences, Keith Tippett is now acknowledged as a superb world class improviser of spontaneous composition yet both men were/are at their creative core, writers of scores and inspired arrangements which are pre-determined and worked on with the aid of pencil and paper. Just as Mingus’ greatest performances stem from what was initially written down, a case could easily be made that Mr Tippett’s written-through compositions like Septober Energy, Thoughts to Geoff, Tortworth Oak, A Loose Kite, Linückea and indeed his spell binding Dedicated To Mingus, are the classics on which he will be judged. Now add to this list – The Nine Dances of Patrick O’Gonogon. What Mingus and Tippett share is the ability to write totally original material from their own marvellously leftfield perspectives, and then have the dots transformed by high wire performances using soloists and compatriots who understand the art of adventure. From the insistent opening, with its little nod to Yardbird tag, the collective reeds and brass are pushing and punching their way through the score and you know this in-memorial to Keith Tippett’s family’s historical linage, with roots in rural Ireland, is not going to be bodhrans and fiddles. The Dance of The Return Of The Swallows sounds more like a bridge to Colm Toibin’s Brooklyn. New York was built by Irish navvys and the air was sound-tracked by saxophones. In a real sense Toibin and Tippett are both writing fiction factually. Swallows is not Bop, instead it has all the hallmarks of Tippett’s own musical history; tightly written and arranged, a massive SOUND and then the terrific drive-through throughout the whole ensemble which shouts and swings just like Duke Ellington said it should. By the time we reach Tom McCredie’s pithy loose twanging double bass break, part pause, part reflection we know we are into really good genuine stuff. McCredie’s interlude signals a boundary to be crossed and for a few more minutes there’s a tense huddle of activity among the band before they segue into track 2, The Dance of The Intangible Touching, one of those classic slow pieces which cradles a non-improvised solo from the leader which seemingly floats off the fingers like a poem. I’ve played this part back several times recently. Throughout his career Mr Tippett has produced many such moments when he seems to hold the keyboard in a trance of melody. It doesn’t seem to matter to the listener whether he’s pre-written it, or simply found it in the moment of its making, either way he signs this music as his own. It’s a gift, and he does it here elegantly. Quite extraordinary. The Dance of The Sheer Joy of It All qualifies as a ‘folk’ dance, certainly in form, but James Gardiner-Bateman’s alto and Fulvio Sigurta’s trumpet don’t let in the céilidh band. Bateman’s solo break is decisive. He nails the speed and exuberance of the piece without turning it into pastiche. It’s an oh so clever interpolation on both the structure and idea of ‘dance’, he makes you want to whoop. In doing so he sets up Sigurta’s horn to knock things about a bit and alter the shape of Sheer Joy. I first heard Gardiner-Bateman several years ago; he was sitting-in at a gig with Pee-Wee Ellis and Fred Wesley. He was decisive then too, socking it to the former JB Horns with a young man’s confidence, like he knew he could bring air and dynamics to the encounter. He did too and some! In the Tippett band he does a similar thing, opening up the whole theatre of the Octet. Keith Tippett has always had an antenna toward alto sax players. The obvious great partnership was with the late Elton Dean, taken far too soon, yet a glorious investigator of the cutting edge. But there have been many other alto encounters like Dudu Pukwana and Trevor Watts, the Italian marvel Gianluigi Trovesi, and people closer to home like Kevin Figes and Aaron Standon. The alto saxophone is a very dextrous reed. Tippett’s affinity with the horn through his compositions and improv enables players to spill out and find themselves in his music. What all these nine dances have is character. They offer themselves up as places where a musician can imprint their personality into the event without losing the essential Tippett signature. I suppose you could call it a sharing, he is in that sense a very generous writer. Sam Mayne’s alto entry on The Dance of The Walk With The Sun On His Back is the kind of sax slow squeeze that tells a thousand stories. It comes off a luxurious written melody line that seems to make it easy for him. By the time they reach dance number nine, The Wily Old Fox of The Ballyhoura Mountains we are utterly engaged with this man Tippett calls O’Gonogon. The tune is touch and go drama in the ensemble voicings set up by deep piano stabs, it culminates in Bateman’s alto and Fulvio Sigurta’s trumpet sparing for space. There really is a Wily Old Fox in this arrangement and he can out dance anyone who says otherwise. The one sung song is The Dance of Her Returning a poignant coda featuring Julie Tippetts’ voice. It is taken from dance 8 in the series in which Sigurta’s flugelhorn is the only ‘singer’ gracing the melody. In the Tippett portfolio there is a little known composition entitled The Irish Girl’s Tear, which I haven’t heard performed for at least twenty-five years. I don’t know if it is called a lament, though that is how I hear this beautiful tender miniature which has no lyric as far as I know. Her Returning feels rather like a companion piece to The Irish Girl’s Tear. I think it is the mark of a great writer that he can, himself ‘return’ to his own past and produce a sequel (if that’s what it is) capable of taking us deeper into the entry point of who this imagined O’Gonogon character really is. Maybe it is yourself, sir. We will never really know. – STEVE DAY, SANDY BROWN JAZZ
One of the very best UK based jazz/music commentators is the writer Richard Williams this is how he puts it: “There comes a point in the lives of certain great artists when they produce a work that summarises and builds on much of what has gone before in the course of a long and varied career. That’s how I felt when I first heard Keith Tippett’s Octet (play) The Nine Dances of Patrick O’Gonogon…” Mr Williams got there before me, I can only concur. Mr Tippett, this is the one! Thank goodness that Richard Wiltshire had the foresight to commission it. Here is a album that needs to be bought. You won’t be sorry. Keith Tippett has been active on the British jazz scene for over 45 years. His discography (under his own name as as a player with others) spans dozens and dozens of releases over those years. My own introduction to his work came in the form of his sprawling double LP set called Septober Energy by the ensemble of fifty musicians that he assembled known as Centipede. This set released in 1971 (1974 on this side of the pond) was an amazing and sometimes confounding work of a massive scale. It certainly made my teenage ears perk up and listen. Over the years, Tippett has continued to produce many works deemed important in the annals of British jazz. His latest work certainly does not veer from that standard. The Nine Dances of Patrick O’Gonogon spans over the course of a series of nine (natch!) compositions… with an additional two works appended as codas. Scored for his octet, the introductory work often feels like there are often twice as many players at work. The band could be as big as any Ellington or Basie ensemble at work. The piece swings but with a series of jagged edges stabbing within and around rapid-fire themes. The second piece makes you feel like you have come out of the blistering sunlight and into the shade of a familiar tree. You can now wipe the sweat from your brow and feel some relief from the heat. Three of the works – The Dance of the Walk with the Sun on his Back, The Dance of the Bike Ride from Shinanagh Bridge with the Wind at his Back and The Dance of the Wily Old Fox of the Ballyhoura Mountains – give off a cinematic air. These ears want to hear the sounds coming from a black and white detective film from the 1950s. They evoke a contemporary sound which harks to a monochrome age. Following the Nine Dances are two codas. The first is a ballad sung by Julie Tippetts which seems to come out of nowhere to bring a tear to the eye like so many Irish folk songs are wont to do. It is followed by an arrangement of the traditional Irish song The Last Rose of Summer which neatly ties the whole package with a big shiny bow. Tick the box for one more impressive addition to the discography of Keith Tippett. – Chris Meloche, Wired For Sound
Superlative large group jazz from UK pianist/composer Keith Tippett, presenting a series of lyrical and accessible compositions – SQUIDCO
Commissioned by a benefactor and released following an online campaign on Kickstarter, pianist and composer Keith Tippett’s new release is a suite of nine tunes (with two bonus tracks) that are inspired by Irish folk music but are wholly modern jazz. There are elements of swing and free improvisation, and steps in between. Some passages are redolent of Duke Ellington, other evoke Charles Mingus’ suites. Each piece within the suite is named after a specific dance, presumably within the life of the eponymous O’Gonogon (a fictional creation, I believe). Some dances are very specific, such as the opener, The Dance Of The Return Of The Swallows, or The Dance Of The Bike Ride From Shinanagh Bridge With The Wind At His Back; others are more descriptive of emotion, such as The Dance Of The Sheer Joy Of It All or The Dance Of The Longing. The octet provides Tippett with a rich palette. Comprising two trombones, two alto saxophones (one doubling with soprano and flute), trumpet/flugelhorn together with piano, bass and drums, it is a medium sized ensemble that sounds like a big band, in much the same way that Mingus’ bands did. Organised in three sections of three dances, some of the pieces sound tightly scored whilst others include freer sections; and at times there are moments of joyful anarchy. The Dance Of The Sheer Joy Of It All has the most clear connection to Irish music, a lively, jaunty number punctuated by punchy chords. The Dance Of The Walk With The Sun On His Back is much more languid, the alto saxes sounding almost like Johnny Hodges. The triplet of tunes that start with this are the most Ellingtonian. The Dance Of The Day Of Observance is haunting and mournful, bringing to mind Duke’s Black, Brown and Beige. The Dance Of Her Returning is another gentle, wistful piece, featuring a flugel solo by Fulvio Sigurta which full of longing. The tune is reprised after the conclusion of the suite as a coda, with vocals by Julie Tippetts, a lovely evocative number. The final piece, a second coda, is The Last Rose Of Summer, a traditional Irish tune arranged, for the most part without piano: it sounds like an impressive brass band. Tippett draws the piece to a close with some subtle solo piano. – Patrick Hadfield, London Jazz
L’infatigable Keith Tippett revient en force avec une nouvelle formation et sur un autre label que celui sur lequel il est considéré comme le pianiste maison, à savoir Ogun. Une formation de huit musiciens (auxquels s’ajoute sur un titre la voix de son épouse Julie) pour une nouvelle suite déclinée en onze tableaux. Beaucoup de nouveaux noms dans cette formation, principalement issus de la Royal Academy of music, à l’exception du batteur Peter Fairclough, avec qui Tippett a déjà souvent enregistré et le trompettiste italien Fulvio Sigurta. Les repères des précédentes suites composées par le pianiste sont présents. Une introduction proche d’une fanfare, un passage entièrement improvisé suivi d’une ballade nostalgique enluminée d’un solo de piano entièrement écrit, avec la complexité que l’on connait. La reprise se fait tout en douceur, les cuivres à l’unisson, avec la force que peut apporter la présence de deux trombones (Kieran McLeod et Rob Harvey) autour du sax alto (James Gardiner-Bateman) et le soprano de Sam Mayne. Comme le titre le laisse présager, Keith Tippett a puisé dans le répertoire folklorique irlandais pour ces danses alternant des passages joyeux et d’autres mélancoliques. Au fur et à mesure que l’on avance, chaque membre du groupe peut se mettre en valeur, le pianiste restant comme à son habitude relativement discret mais efficace, soulignant de son doigté si reconnaissable tel ou tel solo. La cerise sur le gâteau arrivera en presque fin de course avec le poème chanté par Julie Tippetts sur un thème déjà proposé précédemment dans la suite. La voix grave et profonde de Julie sied parfaitement à ce thème qu’Ellington ou Mingus auraient pu écrire, thème porté très haut par le trombone de Rob Harvey. En conclusion, retour à un thème traditionnel irlandais arrangé par Tippett, avec ces fameux roulements de tambour et la flûte (Sam Mayne), un thème à vous arracher une larme ou donner des frissons. “Energie, réflexion, liberté, lyrisme, discipline”, les notes de pochette résument parfaitement la musique de Keith Tippett, qui innove à chaque tentative avec des recettes sans cesse renouvelées. – Philippe Renaud, IMPROJAZZ
In this music, one crucial aspect that has carried over from the classical realm is the ability, by some composers and arrangers, to orchestrate rather large bands into sounding much more like a small unit, and scaling a duet or a trio up to something massive. Much of this is a delicate balancing act, hinging on something like the push-pull of colors one sees in a later Cézanne or Hans Hofmann painting, vistas toggling with minuscule areas for primacy. One could also compare it to the fact that, say, a Jackson Pollock woodblock print feels staggeringly huge, or a sizable Phillip Guston canvas appears intimate and condensed. British pianist Keith Tippett’s work has similarly long displayed a clear understanding of the fluctuating nature of scale, working from large orchestral formations like Centipede and Ark down to small groups like the rugged Mujician; duets and small groups with his wife, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Julie Tippetts (Couple In Spirit and Ovary Lodge); and solo music, all of which exhibits intimacy, individuality and largesse. For this octet work, The Nine Dances of Patrick O’Gonogon, Tippett brings together a mid-sized ensemble expert at realizing visions that combine distant memories of Irish folk song and a lifetime of engagement with jazz and contemporary music. Many of the players are brought from the Royal Academy of Music, alongside Italian trumpeter Fulvio Sigurta and longtime Tippett drummer Peter Fairclough. The disc’s nine pieces are arranged into three clusters within which pieces mostly fold into one another, and the suite is augmented by two brief codas (one sung by Julie Tippetts). The first section opens with “The Dance of the Return of the Swallows,” a snappy ladder climb introducing a few interleaved layers that wheel and break off from the central spins before reconnoitering around a shimmering rhythmic yaw and jagged ensemble trills. Bassist Tom McRedie is given an unaccompanied space to dig around his roots, a brief respite from furious chirps and hungry group conversation. Out of the fracas emerges “The Dance of the Intangible Touching,” echoes of “Naima” (especially the Roswell Rudd arrangement from Archie Shepp’s Four For Trane) in gauzy, plangent horns leading out into Tippett’s spry meditation, gently supplanted by bass and cymbals. Hands on toms signal “The Dance of the Sheer Joy of It All,” reminiscent of Irish piping music (perhaps on a whistle), its altos and brass in taut formation, with Sigurta’s clear, somewhat gravelly rejoinders a nod in the direction of the late Kenny Wheeler. The second trio of pieces is a bit more languid in mood, the chewy blues of “The Dance of the Walk with The Sun On His Back,” slight bit-chomps as its essence, is separated from the lush, glassy pyramidal stir of “The Dance of the Day of Observance” by an elegant and subtly vocal trombone solo by Kieran McCleod. The latter is a through-composed look at Gil Evans, piano and trombones creating a powerful, hovering stillness in a landscape that eventually fleshes out with gauzy horns and cymbals. The final group of tunes is incisive and imbued with toughness, “The Dance of the Bike Ride from Shinanagh Bridge with the Wind at His Back” quickly moving from an accelerated, flat-out pace into bright, circular play, Sam Mayne’s tart alto lands somewhere between Mike Osborne and Jackie McLean as he toys with churchy motifs amid rapid arpeggios and dissonant ensemble blocks, the entire octet in tousled coagulation. Sweet quaver heralds the march of the brief “Dance of Her Returning,” flugelhorn curling out and crackling atop the rhythm section’s guides, before “The Dance of the Wily Old Fox of the Ballyhoura Mountains” explodes out of the long shadows with brassy gulps and methodical clusters and front-line pokes that, in spite of the tune’s insistent weight and collective tangle, actually feel rather lush. With a vocal lullaby and a gorgeous, primarily full-band rendition of the traditional “The Last Rose of Summer,” the rose itself rendered in spiky pianistic eddies, gently falling away, The Nine Dances of Patrick O’Gonogon come to a close. Whatever the ensemble or solo configuration, Keith Tippett has always fascinated. With this octet and the suite of music here, Tippett has created an album that feels like it shouldn’t come to a close. I don’t necessarily mean that The Nine Dances of Patrick O’Gonogon (a made-up character, by the way) are merely open-ended, but that the journey is like a novel or a play that one becomes completely engrossed in and is sad to leave. That almost never happens with a record. –Clifford Allen. Point Of Departure
The Nine Dances of Patrick O’Gonogon is a solid gold delight. I have no idea, who Paddy O’Gonogon is or even if he exists outside the minds of Keith Tippett but I’d love to have a drink or eight with him. Seems like he knows how to have a good time. The record was inspired by Tippett’s memories of Irish folk music and song, albeit filtered through jazz and improvisation. I had never thought of Charles Mingus in relation to Tippett’s work before until reading the CD notes but it rings true. “The Dance of the Walk with the Sun on his Back” is a blues, tangentially related to Irish music I know but there is certainly a parallel here with Mingus’ “Duke Ellington’s Sound of Love.” Tippett’s composition features a lovely lyrical solo from Sam Mayne on alto and a gruffly timbred gem from trombonist Robbie Harvey. More obviously, the sleevenotes also mention Duke Ellington. After all, which great jazz composer has not felt Duke’s breath on the back of their neck? The point, however, lies in the composer’s translation and interpretation of the promise inside Ellington’s gifts to jazz composition. Take “The Dance of the Day of Observance.” Perhaps, the horn voicings here and on “The Dance of the Intangible Touching,” might echo Ellington. However, on “Touching” these are Tippett’s harmonies we hear and in the acapella horns on “Observance” one also hears the English brass band tradition as well. One of the joys of this record is its use of contrast. Slow-moving, almost funereal pieces like “The Dance of Longing” are followed by frantically-paced numbers and outpourings of collective improvisation as on “The Dance of the Bike Ride From Shinanagh….” Maybe not as an influence but Mingus makes for a handy reference point here. But there is also intelligent use of contrasting textures. The jig-like “The Dance of the Sheer Joy of It All” precedes the slow blues of “The Dance of the Walk…,” the lighter colours of the former set against the darker hues of the latter. There are some really fine young players here alongside the oldies -Tippett and Peter Fairclough (what a powerful presence he is on this record) -and “slightly older”— FFulvio Sigurta. The rest are recent Royal Academy of Music graduates and a remarkably assured quintet they are. James Gardiner-bateman’s duet with Sigurta on “The Dance of the Wily Fox…” is confidently weighted and executed. Kieran McLeod on trombone opens the piece, recalling for me several improvising trombonists of considerable stature, most notably Conrad Bauer. Sam Mayne and Rob Harvey, I have mentioned already. However, bassist Tom McCredie is another to watch. His cadenza/solo on “The Dance of the Return of the Swallows” is a remarkably mature performance. Fulvio Sigurta also impresses. His fluegelhorn on the ballad “The Dance of Her Returning” matches the tune’s sentiment and the imagery of its title perfectly. Julie Tippetts adds lyrics and her richly timbred voice to the reprise of “The Day of Her Returning” and the album closes romantically with Tippett’s arrangement of the traditional “The Last Rose of Summer.” The horns float over Fairclough’s military drums before the whole band join for this anthemic closer. I simply could not imagine a better ending to this wonderful record. – DUNCAN HEINING, ALL ABOUT JAZZ
Den britiske pianisten, orkesterlederen og komponisten Keith Tippett, er nærmest en legende innenfor jazzen på de britiske øyer. Det startet tidlig på 60-tallet, da han ledet en sekstett med blant andre saksofonisten Elton Dean, og fortsatte i samarbeid med Harry Miller og Louis Moholo, King Crimson, Stan Tacey og med sin bedre halvdel, vokalisten Julie Tippett. Selv mener han at «The Nine Dances of Patrick O’Gonogon» summerer opp hele hans historie fra 1960 og fram til i dag. Prosjektet startet på Café Oto i London i februar 2014, og fortsatte på Berlin Jazz Festival i november 2015. I coveret takker Tippett spesielt Richard Wiltshire, for hans store positivitet til prosjektet, og nevner også at han betaler godt… noe som ikke akkurat er dagligdags i dagens jazzverden. Musikken har hentet mye inspirasjon fra irsk folkemusikk, samtidig som man også kan fornemme inspirasjon fra Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus og tradisjonelle klassiske britiske brass band. Men hele veien er dette Tippetts musikk. Og jeg må innrømme at det er lenge siden jeg har hørt han såpass frisk og levende som her. Med seg i disse ni dansene, som er delt inn i 11 spor, har han et relativt stort ensemble av mer eller mindre kjente britiske musikere, og med Julie Tippett som vokalist på «The Dance Of Her Returning» (spor 11). Det hele låter moderne og akustisk. Og hele veien låter det veldig Keith Tippett og hans helt særegne evne til å arrangere og tilrettelegge for solister som kan utfolde seg fritt i det musikalske landskapet. Musikerne han har fått med seg i dette prosjektet gjør en strålende jobb, og spesielt legger vi merke til altsaksofonistene og trombonistene på noen av sporene. Det musikalske er spredd utover et stort musikalsk landskap, og hver del er delt inn i tre danser, som krever mye av den som vil bruke disse dansene til å føre sin utkårede over parketten. For her skifter det raskt både i rytme og tempo, selv om for eksempel tredjesporet, «The Dance Of The Sheer Joy Of It All» har klare, irske referanser, som en dyktig riverdance-utøver sikkert ville mestret. Men det meste av stoffet er moderne jazz, av solid merke. Tippetts medmusikanter gjør en strålende jobb, og er med på å gjøre dette «verket» til en musikalsk perlerad. Dette er blitt en spennende og litt annerledes konseptplate fra Keith Tippett, og når Julie Tippett synger på «The Dance Of Her Returning» på det nest siste sporet, så er verket på mange måter fullendt. – Jan Granlie, Salt Peanuts
Full on jazz, with pianist Tippett on imperious form. Brass chords stab and warble, the piano bounces, and it’s all wonderfully ‘Sunday afternoon and it’s rainy outside.’ Jazz is an acquired taste, but sometimes the infectious enthusiasm, not to mention professional musicality of the music shines through. There’s no dull, furrowed-brow intellectual stuff here. Fans of jazz of course should check this out, but I was reminded of some of Frank Zappa’s work when listening to this one, especially the complex, less ethereal stuff. Lumpy piano! – TERRASCOPIC RUMBLINGS
Keith Tippett hatte einen englischen Vater und eine irische Mutter, aufgewachsen ist er in Bristol, wo Richard Kings lesenswertes Buch „Original Rockers“ spielt. Wundervolle Erinnerungen eines Plattenverkäufers, die von der sehr offenen Musikszene der Massive Attack-„Zentrale“ erzählen: von Free Jazz und Folkrock bis Dub Reggae reicht das Spektrum der Leute, die im Plattenladen „Revolver“ in Bristol herumhängen. Bestimmt standen dort auch etlichte Keith Tippett-LPs wie „Dedicated to you…but you weren’t listening“ oder das berühmte weiße Doppelalbum „Septober Energy“ in den Vinyl-Regalen. Der bekannte Jazzkomponist und Bandleader schuf für seine neue elfsätzige Suite – die CD entstand durch ‚public fundraising‘ – als Zentralfigur einen gewissen Patrick O’Gonogon. Der tagträumt beim braunen Ale von fernen Erinnerungen ans geliebte Irland. Tippetts Mitspieler im neuformierten Oktett könnten altersmäßig fast alle – bis auf seinen bewährten Drummer Peter Fairclough – seine Söhne sein, die meisten kommen von der Royal Academy of Music, nur der fabelhafte italienische Trompeter Fulvia Sigurta studierte in Berklee und an der Guildhall School. Mit großen Ensembles hat Keith Tippett – den wir noch als King Crimson-Fan durch sein wahnwitziges Klaviersolo auf „Cat Food“ kennen – eine Riesenerfahrung: es sei nur erinnert an Bands wie Centipede und Ark, aber auch jedes kleinere Format hat er schon ausgetestet, und so gelingt ihm mit „The Nine Dances“ mit Bravour das Kunststück, sein Oktett sowohl orchestral als auch sehr intim klingen zu lassen. Mit Folklorismen hatte Tippett noch nie was am Hut, aber man darf jedesmal staunen über die Art, wie er jeder seiner Riesenanzahl an Alben seinen Tippett-Sound aufdrückt. Und über den höchst originellen Umgang mit traditionellen Quellen auf diesem neuen Album: Jeder der neun Tänze enthüllt eine andere Herangehensweise, wie eine Abfolge von Porträtfotos offenbart jedes einen ureigenen Charakter, denn Schönheit hat bekanntlich viele Gesichter. – KARL LIPPEGAUS, FONO FORUM
Car c’est une œuvre exceptionnelle que vous découvrirez : exceptionnelle par sa dimension, sa construction, son orchestration et l’émotion qu’elle dégage, au point de remettre la galette en question dans le lecteur plusieurs fois dans la même journée. Pour aller vite, disons que le pianiste anglais renoue ici avec ses plus belles et grandes réussites des années 70, lorsqu’il produisait ces impérissables chefs-d’œuvre que sont You Are Here… And I Am There, ou Dedicated To You, But You Weren’t Listening, tous sur le fameux label Ogun, de même que le Septober Energy qu’il conduisit une fois au moins en public à Bordeaux (Festival Sigma), une folie produite par Robert Fripp, mais Keith Tippett était déjà son partenaire dans King Crimson… Le monde est petit, le monde est beau. Dans ces cas-là, bien sûr. Aussi formidable improvisateur en solo qu’en trio (avec Julie Tippetts et Paul Dunmall), magnifique conducteur de grandes ou très grandes formations (avec Louis Moholo-Moholo, Pino Minafra et tant d’autres qu’il faudrait des pages), Keith Tippett sait admirablement faire sonner un orchestre, ici sur des thèmes empruntés au folklore irlandais, dans une manière qui évoque le Mingus de Black Saint And The Sinner Lady, par ses séries de danses et de groupes alternant ensembles, solos, échanges, parties entièrement écrites, parties libres. Et Julie Tippetts en final ou presque, puisque celui-ci est réservé à une sorte d’hymne dont Tippett a encore le secret, partagé avec ses amis d’Afrique du Sud. Là, ce sont les pleurs qui vous attendent. Et même si vous êtes prévenus. Simplement ceci pour finir : en France, c’est l’Europa Jazz du Mans qui l’a invité le plus souvent (neuf fois !, avant la dixième l’an prochain pour les Quarantièmes rugissants). Et voici la liste (très incomplète) des musiciens avec qui il a travaillé, oeuvré : Robert Fripp, Trevor Watts, Elton Dean, Stan Tracey, Dudu Pukwana, Louis Moholo, Mike Osborne, Hugh Hopper, Peter Brötzmann, Paul Rogers. Alors, on traverse la Manche ou on reste en Normandie ? – CITIZEN JAZZ
Seit gut 50 Jahren macht Keith Tippett (eigentlich Keith Graham Tippetts) Musik, Jazz meist, aber auch so einiges mehr. Dabei deckte (und deckt) er ein erstaunliches Betätigungsfeld ab, tritt als Solopianist aus, als klangprägender Mitspieler, Bandleader, oder auch als Komponist und Dirigent für über 50-koepfige Ensembles (siehe „Septober Energy“). Auch im Prog hat Tippett Spuren hinterlassen, bei King Crimson um das Jahr 1970 herum z.B., im Soft-Machine-Umfeld, mit Ovary Lodge, oder mit eigenen, meist in den 70er Jahren entstandenen Alben im Grenzgebiet von Prog, Jazzrock, Brassrock, (Free-)Jazz und Avantgardistischem, mit der Keith Tippett Group („Dedicated To You, But You Weren’t Listening“) oder anderen ambitionierten Projekten (siehe z.B. auch „Frames“). Inzwischen ist es etwas ruhiger um Tippett geworden, zumindest in musikalisch-stilistischer Hinsicht, betätigt er sich, wenn er nicht als Dozent und Musiklehrer beschäftigt ist, meist in rein jazzigen Gefilden, wobei es mitunter immer noch etwas free und/oder orchestral zugehen kann. Sein 2016 bei Discus Music erschienenes Album „The Nine Dances of Patrick O’Gonogan“, eingespielt vom Keith Tippett Octet, bewegt sich auch meist im Jazz (weswegen ich auf eine BBS-Wertung verzichte), einem von Folksong geprägten Jazz, in dem sich aber gelegentlich noch Verunreinigungen von Brassrock und Canterburyartigem ausmachen lassen. Gebläse bestimmt diese Klänge, dazu Tippett am Klavier und die swingende Rhythmusabteilung. In der zweiten Version von „The Dance Of Her Returning“ ist zudem die wundervolle Stimme von Ehefrau Julie Tippetts zu hören. Sehr farbig, impressionistisch und detailreich wird hier musiziert, werden von den Solisten allerlei Geschichten erzählt und folkig gejazzt, alles in allem eher melodisch und entspannt, wobei die schräg und druckvoll hupende Stellen immer mal wieder für Ecken und Kanten sorgt. Wer Canterburyartiges mit akustischem Flair, Ensemblejazz(rock) und jazziges Gebläse schätzt, die Musik von Nucleus z.B. oder die rezenteren Scheiben aus dem Soft-Machine-Umfeld (von The Soft Machine Legacy z.B.), der sollte hier einmal reinhören. Keith-Tippett-Adepten können sofort zugreifen. „The Nine Dances of Patrick O’Gonogan“ ist eines seiner rundesten (zugänglichsten), aber auch einfallsreichsten Alben. – Achim Breiling, BABYBLAUE SEITEN
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