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Sergio Armaroli & Evan Parker: Dialog

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Sergio Armaroli & Evan Parker: Dialog
In 2022, Italian-born vibraphonist Sergio Armaroli and British-born saxophonist Evan Parker were scheduled to tour Italy together, and go into a recording studio together to record a set of freely improvised music in real time. However, the plan fell apart because Parker became unable to leave Britain (maybe for Covid-related reasons?) Although Parker cancelled the tour and the recording session, Armaroli was keen to consider alternatives.

At the time, technology did not allow musicians in distant locations to record together in real time without lapses. Parker was not keen to overdub his improvisations over Armaroli solos. Nonetheless, the format they arrived at was vibraphone call and saxophone response using file sharing. In practice, this resulted in six separate solo Armaroli pieces, entitled "Two Rooms One Vibration #1 -#6," being recorded by Raffaele Stelani at Black Star Recording Studio, Milan, on October 15 2022; their lengths ranged from 3:20 to 26:49. A little over a fortnight later, on November 2, Parker's responses to five of Armaroli's pieces, entitled "Interlude 1 -5," were recorded by Filipe Gomes at Arcobarco Studio in Ramsgate on England's south coast; Parker did not respond to the longest Armaroli piece, saying that the best response to it was silence.

All six Armaroli pieces feature him alone, while all five Parker pieces only feature him; the two are never heard together as a duo. Each of the Parker pieces is shorter than the Armaroli piece it is responding to; for instance, "Two Rooms One Vibraphone #1" plays for 6:33 while "Interlude 1" plays for 1:50. The total playing time of the Parker pieces is just over twelve minutes while that of the Armaroli pieces is just under fifty-six. Maybe the titling of the Parker pieces as "interludes" acknowledges that they are considerably shorter than Armaroli's.

All of the vibraphonist's pieces demonstrate his mastery of his instrument, whether his playing sounds like accompaniment or front-line soloing. Excellent though they sound, the pieces could all have benefitted from the addition of a second player so that the two could interact. Parker has a long history of playing stunning unaccompanied saxophone solos, one which is continued here; heard back-to-back with the Armaroli pieces which inspired them, Parker's pieces sound as if they could have fitted in with Armaroli's.

Now that the Covid situation is better than in 2022, as a follow-up to Dialog maybe Armaroli and Parker can meet each other in a studio and play as a real duo in which they listen to each other and interact in real time. Until that day arrives, Dialog is a highly listenable album which does credit to both its participants.

Track Listing

Two Rooms One Vibraphone #1; Interlude 1; Two Rooms One Vibraphone #2; Interlude 2; Two Rooms One Vibraphone #3; Interlude 3; Two Rooms One Vibraphone #4; Interlude 4; Two Rooms One Vibraphone #5; Interlude 5; Two Rooms One Vibraphone #6.

Personnel

Sergio Armaroli
vibraphone
Evan Parker
saxophone, soprano
Additional Instrumentation

Sergio Armaroli: vibraphone (1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11); Evan Parker: soprano saxophone (2, 4, 6, 8, 10).

Album information

Title: Dialog | Year Released: 2023 | Record Label: Ezz-thetics


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