Enrico Rava: trumpet
Manfred Schoof: trumpet
Hugh Steinmetz: trumpet
Peter Brötzmann: tenor saxophone
Gerd Dudek: tenor saxophone
Evan Parker: soprano & tenor saxophones
Paul Rutherford: trombone
Derek Bailey: guitar
Fred Van Hove: piano
Alexander von Schlippenbach: piano
Irène Schweizer: piano
Arjen Gorter: double bass
Peter Kowald: double bass
Buschi Niebergall: double bass
Han Bennink: drums
Pierre Favre: drums
The lineup says it all. Derek Bailey, Peter Brotzmann, Fred Van Hove, Alexander von Schlippenbach, just to name a few, are all here. I’ve always put this album in context by thinking of it as the non-idiomatic improvisational cousin of Ornette Coleman’s Free Jazz. There is the all-star lineup, the big group moving and swaying and surging, just as there is in Free Jazz. Each player would go on to do even greater things individually or in new configurations. Yet this album, at least from an American perspective, is much less celebrated, which I’ve found curious.
Part of that can be geographic, obviously. Another reason for the supremacy of Free Jazz on these shores is Coleman’s ties to traditional US folk music, where his abstractions would be broken up, or kept in context, by fleeting phrasings (or rephrasings) of memorable tunes. Here there is much less recognizable in terms of melodies under the fray. In this way, it is a more European version of Coltrane’s Ascension. Of course, that is fine praise. And, it is my guess, if you’re a fan of Free Jazz, but enjoy a harsher edge, like Ascension, but want less clutter, then European Echoes is right up your alley.
Unlike some other giant group affairs, this plays slightly more like Bitches Brew in that this record breaks up its storms with a lot of individual showcasing. There is just less going on at one time for a decent number of stretches. In this way, you can hear this as a fresher approach, one that resembles the smaller group free improv of today. The other great thing about this record is that many players are still active, or were at least active recently. This allows you to see how they play in the context of new groups comprised of players that grew up with this sort of thing as respected music rather than a radical statement.
All in all, this is one of the better records posted to KiC, and hopefully a new rip, improved cover art, etc. will help it continue to gain in esteem.(from KILLEDinCARS)
1969 EUROPEAN ECHOES