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Thursday, September 17, 2015

Paul Hubweber, Frank Paul Schubert, Alexander von Schlippenbach, Clayton Thomas, Willi Kellers - Intricacies (NoBusiness, 2015) ****

By Martin Schray 

In one of my last reviews I highlighted the underrepresented German saxophonist Stefan Keune and praised NoBusiness for releasing his great trio album Fractions (with Dominic Lash and Steve Noble). Today, this review could be called Part II of a mini series about German musicians that deserve more attention and which NoBusiness has taken under their wings (Part III will follow in autumn).

Trombonist Paul Hubweber (born 1954) is one of the most remarkable players of the second generation in German free jazz. He has worked with many great European improvisers, e.g. with Alexander von Schlippenbach’s Globe Unity Orchestra, Peter Kowald, John Butcher, Martin Theurer, Paul Lytton, Jaap Blonk and recently with young pianist Philip Zoubek.

Hubweber’s work mainly contains solo and duo recordings on which he often experiments with electrified trombone and additional effects like tube screamer, echolette or harmonizer.
Around the turn of the century he started PAPAJO, a trio consisting of himself (Paul), Paul Lovens (dr) and John Edwards (b), with which he released two excellent records on EMANEM and Cadence. However, Hubweber’s music is rather poorly documented (discogs lists just 16 albums).
Therefore it is all the more welcome that this release presents him as part of a generation-spanning project with Frank Paul Schubert (as, ss), Alexander von Schlippenbach (p), Clayton Thomas (b) and Willi Kellers (dr). They called their recording Intricacies, which is an almost programmatic title since it’s a lesson in filigree playing, in listening and stepping back. And it is also an album about taking chances and elegant transitions.

When he was asked if it was even possible to make mistakes in free jazz it was Evan Parker who said that you could consider missing the right moment for a contribution as a mistake because this moment will never come back. Intricacies could be regarded as a perfect example of seizing the right moment and about the subtleties of improvising. The musicians have a feel for the right tone, they build their contributions on excellent skills and on “the capability of making connections with their instruments, of matching, complementing or contrasting the timbres and textures of the other players“, as German critic Peter Niklas Wilson once put it.

Additionally, the whole set was carefully elaborated. The two long pieces on this album have a similar structure: At the beginning there are tutti improvisations (although of different intensity), followed by quieter passages of smaller formations, then there is room for solo parts (Hubweber in “Come To Blown“, Schlippenbach and Schubert in “Intricacies“ – all three are wonderful). Then the tracks seem to fray or even collapse, but at the end the musicians succeed in building up tension again before the whole band comes together to end each piece in a finale furioso.

What is also exceptionally great is the fallback on jazz history, respectively on sets of criteria the players have established in their career. Schlippenbach, for example, starts the second piece as he has often started the second set of a Schlippenbach Trio gig – by playing the interior of the piano using mellets. He also displays his passion for Thelonious Monk during his solo in the title track and when sax, bass and drums drop in giving the track additional drive we are listening to classical hard bop – wild, jazzy, elegant.

Intricacies offers a lot free jazz aficionados like: outstanding interplay, energetic outbreaks, introspective moments, harmonic twists and even classic melodic swing interludes. Plus, if you were not familiar with him before, you can discover an underestimated trombonist.

Intricacies was recorded in Berlin’s jazz club B-Flat in February 2014 and is available on double CD. You can buy it from the label


paul hubweber said...

Servus Martin Schray,

thanks a lot for this very nice review !

"Hubweber’s music is rather poorly documented (discogs lists just 16 albums). "
So, not all is in the bull's eye of nsa + internet ...-:).

There are private reasons who made me stop makeing presence of "my most favorite Trombone player with an extrem soulful expression" (John Edwards).

After leaving the Ruhrgebiet area where I grew up, I came to Moers 1972 to be part of the festival organization team till 1977.
In those days I produced the first solo tbn LP, after finish playing the drums with what I earned my 1st money in the age of 13.

If you like below are kind of a discography. I am not sure about completeness because I am not a sampler. Many of that stuff is not in my archive anymore ....-:).

- Welche Zeit , guitar - cass. rec. 1969 msc rec (own label)
- Aus meiner Sicht – tbn solo, vinyl – 1976 msc
- Sommer in Peking – with Theurer, Phillipp, Schliemann a.o. – 1980 nimmrec
- Wadis, collage – vanBebber, solo, a.o. – 1980 msc
- Warm Ausgezogen collage – vanBebber, Jablonski, Manig, Börgers, solo, a.o. – 1983 msc
- The Art of Barking – Dietz, Siepmann – 1986 msc
- Genussoforte Orchestra – Werner, Schillings, Keune, Töpp a.o. – 1987 msc
- HUMANOISE – Hirt, Meneses, Phillipp, Schliemann a.o. – 1992 hybrid
- B-TALES – VertrauensbildendeMASSNAHMEN Bell, Hübsch– 1993 micrec
- Serendipity – Clauss, Wörmann – 1994 hybrid
- Lürix+Paranoise – tbn solos – 1996 nurnichtnur
- VOX Sampler – only voices – 1997 nnn
- BULL'S EYE Ensemble – Wissel, Hübsch,Günter, a.o. – 1997 msc
- Kleiner Ballon – Theurer, Gottschalk – 1998 happy few
- VINYL+BLECH I+II – vanBebber , limited edition, – 1998+99 nnn
- U Boot Party – Lehn, Theurer, Gottschalk, Hirt, Schlotte, a.o. – 1998 happy few
- Rubbed+Blown – pieces for 5, 6 and 8 trombones, multiplay – 1999 nurnichtnur
- Wienerplatz - Köllges, Gratkowski a.o. 2001, ED 2001
- Choreografie der Klänge - Wiesemann, Leis – 2001 dohr
- Domino Orchestra - Eichenberger, Hug, Schürch, Studer, a.o. - .2001 emanem
- PaPaJo – Paul Lovens, John Edwards – 2002 Emanem
- VINYL & BLECH III – Claus van Bebber, limited edition, – 2002 nnn
- Tromboneos – trombone solos – 2002 nnn
- SCHNACK – Uli Böttcher – 2005 auf abwegen
- VINYL & BLECH IV – van Bebber – 2005 nnn
- Nobody's Matter But Our Own – Zoubek – 2006 nnn
- VINYL & BLECH I - IV - 2006 nnn
- PaPaJo "simple game" 2006 cadence jazz records
- SCHNACK 3 - Böttcher - nnn 2007
- 7 x solo - sampler - 2007 schraum rec
- L' Archeduc - Zoubek - 2007 - emanem
- ZAM Labory - documentary of "Healing Music"" - Houtkamp, a.o. - 2007 zamrec
- LoverMan - solo tbn - 2010 cadence
- Unchained Folk Songs - Annette Maye - 2008 nrw records
- pas apat - Georg Wolf - 2009 nnn
- no litter - dj sniff - 2011 gligg records
- zappn' - yellow snow crystals - 2011 konnex
- Stay Tuned - rutger zuydervelt - sampler - ed. 2014
- Intricacies - Schlippenbach, Schubert, Thomas, Kellers - 2014 nobusinessrec

in preperation
- HALF CAMOUFLAGE PH compositions, King Crimson cover + Tamara Lukasheva, Jens Düppe
- N.N.; a 4-CD Album with material from 5 decades, incl. stories + fotos

if you like lots of yt pics are available: and many more,

Are you in Karlsruhe, right ? I am in concert in Freiburg / Waldsee 2016, february 27. Maybe c u there,
alte brauerei
napoleonsberg 104
d - 52076 aachen