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On Tour With The Evan Parker Trio

Frank Rubolino By

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With Alexander Von Schlippenbach and Paul Lytton
Barnevelder Movement Arts, Houston Texas
May 2, 2003

For nearly four decades, Evan Parker has been creating exciting music in the trio context, and Alexander Von Schlippenbach and Paul Lytton have shared extensively in this creative process. They were reunited once more in Houston as part of the trio’s North American tour to 16 cities. Originally, Barry Guy was to have been part of the band, but personal matters caused him to cancel. This led to Parker calling his old friend Von Schlippenbach as a last minute replacement.

A substitute is hardly the word for this switch. Von Schlippenbach has been a powerful figure in the free music community dating back to the eruptive 1970s when his association with Parker first began. Parker gave him plenty of space on the two Houston sets. Von Schlippenbach played an open-ended duet with Lytton, and he also did a beautiful Thelonious Monk medley as a solo contribution. Von Schlippenbach was in a pensive mood on this night, even when collectively discoursing with the trio. He played with consistent fire, but it was a controlled flame rather than a raging blaze. His use of prepared piano, with numerous gongs and bells resting on the piano strings for tonal effect, was indicative of his thoughtful mood this evening.

This established much of the direction for Parker’s expeditions. Starting on tenor and switching to soprano, Parker excelled with his patented circular breathing demonstrations, but he kept the lid on the eruptions until the closing number. There, the aggressiveness that has been his trademark came through loudly and distinctly. Parker can put a biting edge to his blowing, but he always maintains a flowing sense of continuity. He eschews open spaces and floods the soundstage with his marathon exercises.

Lytton was all over his kit. He used multiple forms of percussion to underpin the music with a dense form of drumming that ebbed and flowed with clanking abrasions and more volatile outbursts.

In duet with Von Schlippenbach, Lytton used numerous ambiance setters to make the delicate piece sing out with sensitivity.

The performance was a true delight and a rare chance for Americans to see Von Schlippenbach in action. A full-house crowd appeared very satisfied from the encounter.

Event Sponsor's Website: http://www.pofinc.org/houston

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