Evan Parker: The Two Seasons
Evan Parker seems to be coming out with a new recording every month, and they're all good. His improvising is, as it always has been, highly individual and immediately recognizable, but each new disc brings new possibilities and new rewards. This one is a double disc buy a trio that is not Parker/Guy/Lytton. Instead, John Edwards is on bass and Mark Sanders on percussion. The differences are subtle, since Edwards and Sanders are both top-flight free players who well complement what Parker is doing. Sanders' kit is as full of ringing, shimmering things as Lytton's is, and Edwards is a percussive, energetic bassist like Guy.
But Parker, who sticks to tenor throughout both of these discs except for the third section of "Summer," the extended piece that takes up disc two, seems once again (as on the recent After Appleby from Leo Records) to be in a relatively meditative mood. That's not to say that his tenor flights here are any less coiled and intense than they usually are - especially on disc one's "Winter." But there are considerable stretches of "Summer" that seem to breath calmer air, and on which Parker discovers some quite ravishing music. See especially part ii, where he builds some impressive lyrical structures over Edwards' bowing. Is the Lion mellowing? Is the old renegade coming home? No - the differences I'm talking about are perhaps infinitesimal between this disc and, say, Imaginary Values from 1993. But perhaps he is in a certain sense emphasizing and recapitulating some of the musical possibilities of the discoveries he's made over the last thirty years. Both of these discs are, in any case, fascinating and beautiful, with superb playing from all three musicians.
Evan Parker, ts, ss; John Edwards, b; Mark Sanders, perc.