Globe Unity Orchestra

As told to Corbett by Peter Brötzmann, 'Out of the first trio (with Kowald and Sven-Åke Johnasson) and the Schoof/Schlippenbach Qunitet - Gerd Dudek was in it, Buschi, Jaki Liebezeit was the drummer - out of that combination was formed the first Globe Unity'. Not contradicting this, Jeske (1980), reported that Globe Unity was formed in autumn 1966 with a commission received by Alex von Schlippenbach from the Berlin Jazz Festival. 'We did three days of rehearsal in Koln and performed my composition entitled Globe Unity at the Philharmonie in Berlin on 3rd November. The piece was released on Saba the same year.' In the early days, the musical influences were various and the contributions and organization to some extent egalitarian, with Peter Brötzmann and Peter Kowald being particularly important. However, as the different 'periods' (Schlippenbach, 1993; below) were worked through Schlippenbach became the cornerstone and the provider of musical starting points for the group. The main exception to this is Compositions where an invitation was given to other members of the time to submit compositions. Schlippenbach (1993) says that the last concert was given before 92,000 people at the Chicago jazz festival in 1987, though a version of the orchestra was re-convened in 2002 - with a CD released on Intakt in 2003 - and further concerts occurred thereafter.

In Europe, the only other group working in the area of mixing large-scale composition and improvisation is the London Jazz Composers' Orchestra, though Schlippenbach's interests here appear to have been channeled into the equally fine Berlin Contemporary Jazz Orchestra.

Further information

Jeske, Lee (1980). Free players from many lands form Globe Unity Orchestra, Downbeat, vol. 47, no. 9, (September), pp. 28, 31-33.

Shoemaker, Bill (1984). Globe Unity Orchestra, Downbeat, vol. 51, no. 3, (March), p. 51. A report of the Orchestra's US debut at D.C. Space in Washington DC.

Schlippenbach, Alex von (1993). 20th anniversary. Notes accompanying the FMP CD of the same name that provide probably the best abstract of the group's evolution, development, personel changes and last concert. As much, anyway, as it is possible to squeeze 20 years of activity into 1,000 words.


Until full details of the recordings below are entered on these pages, the best reference to Globe Unity records and CDs is the Online Evan Parker discography by Patrice Roussel and William Tsun-Yuk Hsu.

1966, Globe Unity, Saba 15 109 ST. Issued under Schlippenbach's name.
1967/70, Globe Unity 67 & 70, Atavistic/Unheard Music Series.
1973, Live in Wuppertal, FMP 0160.
1973, For example, FMP R123. One track on commemorative/compilation 3LP set.
1974, Hamburg '74, FMP 0650/Atavistic Unheard Music Series UMS/ALP248CD.
1974, Der alte mann bricht ... sein schweigen, FMP S4 (single). Globe Unity Orchestra.
1975, Rumbling, FMP CD 40.
1975, Bavarian calypso/Good bye, FMP S6 (single).
1975, Baden-Baden '75, FMP CD 137. Globe Unity Orchestra + Guests.
1975/1976, Jahrmarkt/Local fair, Po Torch PTR/JWD 2.
1977, Improvisations, JAPO 60021.
1977, Pearls, FMP 0380.
1979, Compositions, JAPO 60027. Improvisations and Compositions
reviewed by Peter Kostakis in Downbeat, vol. 48, no. 11, (November 1981), pp. 38-39.
1982, Intergalactic blow, JAPO 60039.
1986, 20th anniversary, FMP CD45. Brief review in Coda, no. 258, (November/December 1994), p. 24.
2002, Globe Unity 2002, Intakt CD 086.
2006, Globe Unity - 40 years, Intakt CD 133.

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