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Friday, January 18, 2013

Evan Parker Week: Epilogue

By Martin Schray

Alexander von Schlippenbach,
Evan Parker, and Paul Lovens after
a performance in Berlin, December 2012
One of our readers who commented our recent “innovation debate” mentioned that he had “enjoyed seeing other bands a lot more than Evan Parker circular breathing for the zillionth time”. Once I had this discussion with a visitor at a Schlippenbach Trio concert as well. But I guess this is not the point. Parker’s saxophone technique is a distinctive voice (like B.B. King’s guitar or the Austrian writer Thomas Bernhard’s language) and he can bring in this voice in various contexts (he has worked with artists as different as David Sylvian, Robert Wyatt, electronic hardcore wizard John Wiese or the German free ambient band Kammerflimmer Kollektief). Maybe this is his greatest achievement – his open-mindedness.

He plans lots of releases for 2013, for example a new album by his trio with Barry Guy and Paul Lytton on NoBusiness. However, the future of Martin Davidson's Emanem label is uncertain because Parker's long-time collaborator is thinking about retiring. So Parker has to look for a reliable successor who shares his artistic and economic ideas.

If things work out fine there will be a lot of great new albums and re-releases. In this context the wonderful website should be mentioned, because they offer legal downloads of seminal out-of-print records by the great FMP label, just recently Three Nails Left (1975) and Anticlockwise  (1983) by the Schlippenbach Quartet (Schlippenbach, Parker, Kowald, Lovens), both of them must haves.

Even if all his albums are worth checking them out you should see him live. He has a website but the most reliable source is If you have the chance to talk with him you will see what a friendly, intelligent and educated man he is. I would like to listen to his circular breathing another zillion times.

© stef


Colin Green said...

Good news about a new Parker/Guy/Lytton recording on NoBusiness, but I wonder if there are any plans to re-release “Tracks”, their first album, which I have on LP, but which has never made it to CD: a number of Parker’s old Incus recordings have been re-released on his Psi label. This month is the thirtieth anniversary of that first session.

Paolo said...

I couldn't agree more. If after almost fifty years spent blowing and screaming in any conceivable line-up you still feel like experimenting and teaming-up with someone as John Wiese to deliver a work such as "C-Section" what I hope is to hear Parker's circular breathing until saxes will exist.

Dan said...

A worthy subject for a week-long celebration. Thanks for leading the charge, Martin.

(Unrelated, but whoever the guy is to the right of Parker in the photo, it's not Paul Lytton...)

Anonymous said...

Paul lovens. Always shirt n tie!

Stef said...

Hi Martin,
Great overview. And I agree with your epilogue. The duet with Fernández is my favorite, and it gives a very good perspective on Parker's versatility and open-mindedness.


Trevor Barre said...

So funny, all of this. I remember that, in the 80s, recordings by Evan and Derek were like hen's teeth. Now we are stumbling over 'em.
I'm not sure which is the most preferable situation. Overdose or Underdose? One thing is for clear, you really got to know the records that were available at the time, Tracks for example, as Colin Wood mentioned.
To be frank, I lose the will to live, looking at the plethora of Parker 'product' available nowadays. The tyranny of choice writ large.