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Friday, April 5, 2024

Evan Parker @ 80

Evan Paker. (c) Cristina Marx/Photomusix

By Martin Schray

The range of Evan Parker’s musical activities is almost limitless. It covers his beginnings in the 1960s with John Stevens’ Spontaneous Music Ensemble through to his duos with Paul Lytton and Derek Bailey, the Schlippenbach Trio, his own trio with Barry Guy and Paul Lytton and his Electro-Acoustic Ensemble. In addition, there are dozens of occasional recordings and projects that go beyond the boundaries of free improvised music (think of recordings with Robert Wyatt or David Sylvian). 

One characteristic is that he has never deviated from his unmistakable stylistic identity. Nobody plays like him, he has managed to create an absolutely unmistakable sound of his own. This is particularly evident in his solo recordings, in the chronology of which a clear development can be heard. Already in 1986 Ekkehard Jost noticed that a growing complexity of musical material was recognizeable in Parker’s work, into which the saxophonist has put a lot of work and energy, both physical and mental. He has always approached the fundamentals of a profession with great seriousness and intensity and he has always regarded his music primarily as music to listen to, not music to dance to or tap your feet to. Parker is primarily concerned with the idea of the ambiguity of the qualities of impression. The same music can be perceived by the listener as slow or fast or as a successive sequence of individual intervals or as polyphonic polyphony. This has not changed to this day, nor has his enormous productivity. 

To mark his 80th birthday, we would like to discuss some of his latest releases today. 
And if you happen to be in London this weekend (April 6th and 7th), stop by Cafe OTO for a set of concerts by Parker. More here: