All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

308

Evan Parker/Barry Guy/Paul Lytton: Zafiro

Matthew Sumera By

Sign in to view read count
It's hard to account for longevity among freely improvised groups. One somehow assumes that part of the success of much of the genre relies upon the newness of encounter—flirting with the unknown that presumably can only come from fresh associations. This, of course, is one of the myths of free improvisation, for in truth there are any number of long-standing groups that have defined the heights of the genre: AMM, Alexander von Schlippenbach's trio (with Evan Parker and Paul Lovens) and the now nearly three-decade long existence of the Evan Parker/Barry Guy/Paul Lytton trio.

On Zafiro, the three met for an evening in Barcelona in March 2006. Apparently apart for "quite awhile, as bassist Barry Guy observes in the liner notes, they nonetheless hit with a palpable sense of purpose and grace that marks the encounter from the start. The disc begins with a now standard tussle, each musician vying for space yet not stepping on toes. Saxophonist Parker's lines move from astringency to freely floating, finding an immediate common ground with the others. Guy's tone, as always, is deep and resonant, both ripping and massaging forth notes. Lytton, long one of the more inventive of free drummers, helps push the whole thing forward with equal measures of finesse and drive.

After an initial eleven-minute volley, the group splinters into a variety of fragments, mostly various duos and solos. Staggering moments abound. Shortly into the third track (in reality it's one piece, "Zafiro, although broken into tracks for easy navigating) Parker joins the tumble of a bass/drums duo. It's a particularly plangent moment, almost songlike in its own way with Guy sitting on his notes just long enough to create a serene weight. Lytton steps out solo in track four, and it's a typically eclectic affair. He makes use of a variety of gongs, woods, and assorted metals, his sticks and mallets playing seemingly everything available. If it all sounds a bit too abstract to the uninitiated, be assured that he somehow retains an electric sense of drive, momentum, even swing throughout. His is a study of measure.

For that matter, this entire disc suggests nothing less than a finely wrought balance. The key to the trio's success can be located in countless such moments of force and patience, an aesthetic dialectic of challenge and reserve. As Frank von Neiderhäusen writes in his useful liner notes, the trio plays "forcefully, but with precision. Virtuosic but with deliberation. Thrusting about but compact. Perhaps none of that says much about the actual notes played, but it certainly conveys the essence of the emotions pulled forth. Parker/Guy/Lytton remain a model for thought and reflection. And for those unfamiliar with their craft, this may be the best place to start.

Track Listing: Access Point: ID 1 [start]; ID 2 [bass; perc]; ID 3 [enter tenor sax]; ID 4 [perc. solo]; ID 5 [enter bass]; ID 6 [enter soprano sax]; ID 7 [soprano sax solo]; ID 8 [bass; perc]; ID 9 [enter soprano sax]; ID 10 Zafiro Encore.

Personnel: Evan Parker: soprano and tenor saxophones; Barry Guy: bass; Paul Lytton: drums, percussion.

Title: Zafiro | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Maya

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To CD/LP/Track Review
You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 24, 2018
Read We Out Here CD/LP/Track Review
We Out Here
by Chris May
Published: February 24, 2018
Read Best of the Bootlegs 2017 CD/LP/Track Review
Best of the Bootlegs 2017
by Doug Collette
Published: February 24, 2018
Read The Asylum Years CD/LP/Track Review
The Asylum Years
by Doug Collette
Published: February 24, 2018
Read Solo Contra CD/LP/Track Review
Solo Contra
by Daniel Barbiero
Published: February 24, 2018
Read Ellipse CD/LP/Track Review
Ellipse
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 23, 2018
Read "Demons 1" CD/LP/Track Review Demons 1
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 1, 2017
Read "Rebirth" CD/LP/Track Review Rebirth
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 4, 2017
Read "Cool" CD/LP/Track Review Cool
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: March 20, 2017
Read "Float Upstream" CD/LP/Track Review Float Upstream
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 26, 2017
Read "Urban Soul" CD/LP/Track Review Urban Soul
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 20, 2017
Read "Use Your Imagination" CD/LP/Track Review Use Your Imagination
by David A. Orthmann
Published: December 21, 2017