Keith Tippett – Mujician Solo IV Live in Piacenza

mujician solo IV(Dark Companion Records) 

Mujician Solo IV is a solo piano album recorded at the Musiche Nuove a Piacenza festival in 2012, and is the first album of the new Italian label Dark Companion. Mujician is the name that Tippett used for his solo piano albums and IV refers to the fact there have been three previous solo piano albums by him.  Later the name Mujician became used for the improvising quartet with Keith, Paul Dunmall, Paul Rogers and Tony Levin that became a major group on the European improvised music circuits and lasted until Tony Levin’s death in 2011.

The recording is live and goes straight through without a break, lasting just over 47 minutes. At the end of the performance the long silence from the audience and the subsequent rapturous applause show the powerful effect of the music on that audience and I sense that the CD will have the same impact on its listeners.

Tippett’s solo performances draw on various sources to make a complete and unique whole; there is the spontaneity and rhythm of jazz, there is an “in the moment” version of prepared piano through the use of sounds produced inside the piano, mostly through the placing of wooden blocks on the strings. These plus the evident passion of the playing combine to produce a very special set of music that grows organically throughout.

There are various features that seem to me to be characteristic of Tippett’s performances, especially in solo or duo formats; there are the short repeated rhythmic phrases with the right hand that then move into long flowing lines, there are the distinctive phrases produced through use of the already mentioned wooden blocks inside the piano, there are the thunderous climaxes using the whole range of the piano.  Above all, there is the beauty and the fascination of the playing.

Categories: CD review

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