Home » Jazz Articles » Album Review » Evan Parker / Barry Guy / Paul Lytton: Concert In Vilnius


Evan Parker / Barry Guy / Paul Lytton: Concert In Vilnius


View read count
Evan Parker / Barry Guy / Paul Lytton: Concert In Vilnius
In a world riven by climate chaos and the attack on truth, on both sides of the Atlantic, it is reassuring that some things remain constant. At this stage of an existence dating back to the early 80s, the superlative British trio of saxophonist Evan Parker, bassist Barry Guy and drummer Paul Lytton plays only a few concerts each year. When they do, the results tend to the spectacular, and Concert In Vilnius only affirms that. In fact, when taken together with Music For Mossman (Intakt, 2018) and Live At Maya Recordings Festival (NoBusiness, 2011), it suggests something of a late career apotheosis.

As ever, the dizzying unfettered interplay when all three push the foot to the floor can be exhilarating, sparking a visceral thrill. Their collective imagination and speed of response betrays no age-related dampening of the firing neurons. Momentary connections, which vouchsafe intent, listening and shared purpose, illuminate the dense organic flow. But spacious interludes, either alone or in varying permutations, intrude often on this particular occasion, offering showcases for the extraordinary skills of the three principals and allowing more direct appreciation of the emotional ambivalence which underpins their abstract rhetoric.

As well as streams of hyperspeed clipped notes, Parker utilizes circular breathing as part of his armory, which he deploys as needed in the moment. It's no mere technical exercise; so unobtrusive is the technique that you can forget how the simultaneously gruff and yelping contours originate. Guy's approach is built upon contrasts: melodic and percussive; spiky and resonant; bowed and plucked; high and low; quiet and loud. If the range encompassed wasn't remarkable enough, the rapidity with which he flits between them can be astonishing.

Alongside Tony Oxley and Paul Lovens, Lytton stands as one of the founders of the now ubiquitous European drumming style which blends impulse and timbral variety. He remains one of its most provocative practitioners stringing together small gestures of clatter, clank and clang to further some larger architecture.

But, of course, it is how all this is combined which is where the magic resides. "Part I" begins in considered fashion, as if eavesdropping on three acquaintances conversing, as indeed they are, eloquent, informed and hyper attentive, ready to rebut, endorse or debate. And always ready to spin off on rewarding tangents. Parker's unaccompanied skirling opens "Part II," evoking bagpipes and folk airs at times, until sustained split tones prompt an ominous bass throb and drone. Then later, as Guy ends a solo on a rhythmic phrase, Parker picks up the same cadence to initiate another ferocious snarling dash.

On "Part III," there's an episode when Guy and Parker fuse in cyclical movement until joined by Lytton's frothing cymbals, which incite the breakneck assault on another wondrous pinnacle. The succinct concluding "Part IV," likely an encore, returns to the same measured mode with which they began, begetting the wild applause appropriate to such a nuanced and exhilarating performance.

Track Listing

Part I; Part II; Part III; Part IV.


Evan Parker
saxophone, soprano

Album information

Title: Concert In Vilnius | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: NoBusiness Records

< Previous



Support All About Jazz

Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

How You Can Help

To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.


Linda Sikhakhane
To March Is To Love
Janel Leppin, Ensemble Volcanic Ash
Chicken Shit Bingo
Peter Brötzmann & Paal Nilssen-Love
From Me To You
Petra Van Nuis and Dennis Luxion


Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.