Globe Unity Orchestra: Globe Unity Orchestra 2002

Under the direction of pianist Alexander von Schlippenbach, Globe Unity Orchestra brought together the heaviest hitters in European free improvisation on a regular basis from 1966 to 1986. Though it was the group’s first performance after a hiatus of more than 15 years-and several of the key members were now in their 60s-the concert documented on Globe Unity Orchestra 2002 (Intakt) sustains a blistering heat for all but just a few of its almost 74-minute running time. Time and again, saxophonists Peter Brstzmann, Evan Parker and Ernst-Ludwig Petrowsky, trombonists Hannes Bauer and Paul Rutherford and drummers Paul Lovens and Paul Lytton red-line the intensity to seemingly unsurpassable levels, only to be promptly outdone. The only pressure drop is a brief smoldering solo by trumpeter Manfred Schoof that hovers over Schlippenbach’s Monkishly jagged comping. This is one of the most riveting recordings of the year, essential listening for anyone with even a passing interest in European free improvisation.