Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Straight Horning - Evan Parker: As the Wind

In addition to his solo saxophone recordings, I'm a fan of Evan Parker's quieter outings such as his duo with Richard Nuns, Rangirua, and the two trio albums with Paul Bley and Barre Phillips, Time Will Tell and Sankt Gerold Variations. The recently released As the Wind, fits the bill nicely and has been getting a fair bit of airtime. [As an aside: I have never been able to get into his work with long-time collaborators Barry Guy and Paul Lytton or as part of Alexander von Schlippenbach's trio].
Toma Gouband Mark Nauseef
Evan ParkerAs the Wind (PSI Records)

I'm very happy to have stumbled upon this while browsing the shelves at Dusty Groove. It was the line-up that raised my curiosity levels -  Parker sticks to the soprano throughout nine free improvisations with Toma Gouband (Lithophones) and Mark Nauseef (Percussion). 

The music is never too busy with space playing an important role in the album. It is music that is not in a rush and has an open and airy presence. Flurries of notes punctuate periods of sustained sounds. Surges of sound retreat as quickly as they appear. At times I couldn't help but think of Gagaku or the Shakuhachi. It's a marvelous feeling to be immersed in a recording to the point, no longer aware of the specific instruments being played, you just bask in the sound.

The air sounds, microtones and multiphonics are not just played for show and flash. And lets not forget clean notes... Parker has a great clean soprano tone but it's something that is not often mentioned. I'm really enjoying the sound of this album. Not only does it showcase the many subtleties of the individuals but also the wonderful blend of the trio is beautifully captured. 

I don't get the feeling the trio is trying to do something new. In fact, it feels like they tap into something quite ancient, perhaps even primitive. I can’t quite put my finger on what it is, but it makes for compelling listening as another year rolls around.

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