**Edition of 200 copies.** For fans of European free jazz, Globe Unity Orchestra needs little introduction. The project is nothing short of legendary, carving a path over the last half century. Formed as with a commission received by Alexander von Schlippenbach in 1966 - debuting at the Berliner Philharmonie late in that year - it joined three of the most powerful forces in German freely improvised music as a single unit - Gunter Hampel's quartet, Manfred Schoof's quintet, and Peter Brötzmann's trio - and in so doing gave rise to a sound that has had little equivalent before or since.
Globe Unity Orchestra belongs to an important shift in the development of free jazz that began to percolate on both sides of the Atlantic around the time it was formed; the development of larger collectives and ensembles - from the AACM, Arkestras led by Sun Ra and Horace Tapscott, to John Coltrane’s band on Ascension and beyond - at a rate not seen since the rise of be-bop in the 1940s. With it came a new, wilder sound of new possibility, driven and focused, often howling like a thousand voices at once. Almost from inception, Globe Unity Orchestra became a vehicle for collaboration and discourse from artists across the globe; linking different scenes of artists in the same creative conversation, something incredibly apparent in the line up of their seminal 1977 LP, Pearls, reissued now for the first time by Be! Jazz.
It would be hard to find a more distinguished group of players, from such a range of geographies and individual cultures, than the ensemble that features on Pearls. It’s jaw dropping; Alex Schlippenbach, Anthony Braxton, Evan Parker, Gerd Dudek, Michel Pilz, Peter Brötzmann, Rüdiger Carl, Buschi Niebergall, Peter Kowald, Paul Lovens, Albert Mangelsdorff, Günter Christmann, Paul Rutherford, Enrico Rava, Kenny Wheeler, and Manfred Schoof. Recorded in Baden-Baden during November of 1975, as a culmination of the "New Jazz Meeting - Ten Years Globe Unity Orchestra”, the album is comprised of 4 compositions, covering a vast range of approaches and forms of attack, from the Evan Parker’s opening howls on his own, Every Single One Of Us Is a Pearl, stretching across the entire first side, to the brittle, frenetic interplay featured across Alexander Schlippenbach’s Kunstmusik II and The Onliest, to a stunning reworking of Thelonious Monk’s Ruby My Dear, that chugs like a train and makes a loving nod to this music’s roots in earlier forms of jazz.
One of the most coveted artifacts of the legendary FMP catalog, as well as within the seminal output of Globe Unity Orchestra, Pearls is one those records that defies justice with words. Diverse and ambitious in its compositional make up, as much as through its players, it’s a crucial window into the potential and spirit envisioned by improvisers during the mid 1970’s; an optimist, global conversation in sound that offers a forward thinking vision of creativity as a social cultural bridge. Unquestionably one of the most exciting and important free jazz reissues in recent years. Not to be missed!