Fifty years on from their first encounter, the British pairing of saxophonist Evan Parker and drummer Paul Lytton convened in a Chicago studio to record Collective Calls (Revisited) (Jubilee), named in echo of their first release. Of course they've reunited countless times in the interim, notably as two thirds of the classic trio completed by bassist Barry Guy, and in Parker's Electro-Acoustic Ensemble among other formations. Not that the current date recalls the earlier session in much other than instrumentation, although this time out Parker restricts himself solely to tenor saxophone.
Rather, the proceedings inevitably reflect the refinement and consolidation which has taken place over the intervening half century. They've abandoned the electronics and homemade instruments, and also the consequent scratchy uncompromising ethos of the first disc. The default here is the constantly shifting carpet of percussive clatter and restless streams of clipped saxophone notes which will be familiar to anyone who has listened to the Parker/Guy/Lytton trio.
They've chosen to keep the eleven spontaneous duets short and self contained, spanning between four and seven minutes. Parker moves between fluttering, oscillating phrases announced with a sudden attack, rhythmic effects from key pad popping, and extended lines which incorporate multiple voices in different registers, courtesy of his mastery of circular breathing. Although Lytton frequently initiates proceedings with metallic reverberations from a range of mounted and untethered cymbals, that often presages a gear change into a characteristic dry rippling rattle.
Each of the pieces is discursively titled using an extract selected from Elias Canetti's Party In The Blitz, a memoir of his time in England, in an approach which has been likened to stringing together small scenes, like beads, into a continuing story. That analogy also seems appropriate for the method here, where it is the combination of micro-detail and cumulative impact which assumes the greatest importance. How exactly does Parker respond to Lytton's cymbal crashes set in space or his scrumpled crackling? What does Lytton do when Parker eases into the quivering skirl of a prolonged unbroken passage? Suffice to say, they've developed their own language, and converse in it with utter assurance.
... the dissent, that began with the Quakers?; ... confused about England; England feels very remote to me; Alfreda was always especially cordial to me ... (dedicated to Alfreda Benge); ... becoming transfigured …; The bonfires on Hampstead Heath; What has it become entangled with now?; ... a little perplexing ...; How tight knit was England then!; ... beheading their own King …; Each thing, the one, the other and both together would amount to the truth.
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