MTH-V: Evan Parker Solo

Finally, what I intended to post a few weeks ago.

Over the past couple years I’ve become quite taken with Evan Parker. I hadn’t heard of him until I blindly purchased Boustrophedonone of his two albums co-led with Roscoe Mitchell and their Transatlantic Art Ensemble – a real nice album! (I’ve since purchased the companion Composition/Improvisation Nos. 1, 2, & 3, and it’s just as wonderful and intriguing.) I’m thankful I purchased that album, as it exposed me to a truly unique saxophonic voice. In that same spirit of thanks, I found it only appropriate to finally post these videos this week.

For those who aren’t familiar with Mr. Parker, and I’m guessing that’ll be almost all of you, he’s a British free saxophonist. I’d say free jazz saxophonist, however that’s a bit constraining, as you’ll no doubt gather from these two videos. While he has made records in more “traditional” jazz formats, he’s mostly known for his all-out sonic assaults in a variety of settings. One of his biggest contributions has been to the area of solo saxophone improvisation, having released a number of albums in the genre. (Go to this site and select Evan Parker -> Solo Saxophone for an idea.) As a result, I chose these two videos to serve as an appropriate introduction.

These selections come from a live 1985 performance in London. (I’ve spent many late nights captivated by these and other Parker videos.) It’s best to let Parker speak for himself, so all I really should say is:
1. Note his casual execution of a plethora of extended techniques. What’s better is the fact that he uses them as a means to an end in order to properly express whatever it is he’s hearing, as opposed to simply “showing off.” In fact, it regularly sounds as if more than one instrument is being performed.
2. Keep open ears and an open mind. And most of all, enjoy! 🙂

PS – Imagine my excitement to secure this album in, hopefully, the near future…

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