This is the first solo recording in 15 years for Keith Tippett, a former guest member of 70s prog-rock band King Crimson as well as an inspired cross-genre bandleader and virtuoso pianist of more than four decades’ standing. This 47-minute continuous set was recorded at the Musiche Nuove a Piacenza festival in northern Italy in 2012 and it catches Tippett at his variously contemplative, melodic, abstract and tempestuous best.
What sounds as much like a meditation as a performance develops in slowly rumbling chords that suddenly take sharp hairpin turns and minimalist treble runs that tinkle over lightly tapped, woody sounds. At various points, Tippet’s set deploys eerily waltzing papery rustles, dissonant chords and metallic clangs that turn to blues and furious ostinatos that circle over low-end thunderings. Sometimes it suggests Messiaen, sometimes Cecil Taylor or Paul Bley. Even the improv-averse might be astonished by the romanticism of this remarkable gig.