Why, you might ask, does Evan Parker perform free jazz in trio, a format more identified with rhythm-based jazz? The answer is quite evident on At Somewhere There, a 40-minute improvisational interaction with two new partners.
This trio's rhythm is supplanted by energy, animation, and a certain verve; but then, Parker has been at this for many years. Beginning with late-1960s noisy free jazz, he has developed his own language of saxophone virtuosity that includes circular breathing and extended techniques, all creating a new vocabulary for the horn. His many interests include electro-acoustic ensembles, large formats, solo performances, and small group interactions, such as this performance.
Playing with Toronto bassist Wes Neal and drummer Joe Sorbara for the first time in this live setting is no obstacle to Parker's music-making. Certainly, the pair must have been familiar with Parker's classic trio performances with bassist Barry Guy and drummer Paul Lytton, because they connect from the very first cymbal strike.
The set meanders with a purpose, Parker squeezing out his patented saxophone drizzles and dribbles with nary a hint of mutiny or belligerence. Each player is self-assigned to his role: Neal applies both fingers and bow to continually maintain the room's energy; likewise, Sorbara is adept at all things percussive. Not so much to keep time, because the pulse comes not from the beat but the rattle and hum of the trio's treatment.
At Somewhere There is one long piece, the continuance parts evidence of this mushrooming relationship. Parker's sustained and wandering horn provides the launching pad for various interactions with his partnersscraped cymbals giving way to tapping bows, or the repeated bell-striking converging with energetic arco wavesall flowing constantly as a reinvigorating sound.
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