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Monday 16 November 2015, 8pm

Photo by Dawid Laskowski

EFG London Jazz Festival: The Necks – Day Four with Evan Parker

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“One of the most extraordinary groups on the planet... a sonic experience that has few parallels or rivals.” – The Guardian

The Necks are one of the most distinctive and enthralling groups in music. Ever a pleasure to witness their mesmerically symbiotic musical interplay and we're delighted to welcome them back for another four nights as part of this year's London Jazz Festival. The hard-earned, almost telepathic rapport that Chris Abrahams, Lloyd Swanton and Tony Buck have developed over the past 26 years is truly one of the most compelling in live music and it's a privilege to have them back here at OTO.

As part of this very special residency, The Necks will also be joined on the final night by the great Evan Parker, with whom they struck up an incredible dialogue when they performed with him as part of Parker's 70th birthday residency at OTO last year.

“Absolutely riveting... how three musicians can sound like eighteen is a mystery... extraordinary magical sounds emerged from the ensemble...the way The Necks do this with acoustic instruments is nothing short of miraculous” – Financial Times

The Necks

The Necks offer a phenomenal musical experience, unlike any piano trio you may have heard. Masters of their own musical language of long-form improvisation, each night they step onto the stage with no pre-conceived ideas of what they will play – they and the audience will go on a sonic journey that is created in the moment and in that room.

Over their 30 years together, they honed an assured process of building around repeated motifs through subtle shifts and layering, to produce an extraordinarily dense and hypnotic effect which builds in a mesmerising, epic fashion …. a trio conjuring an orchestral expanse. Every Necks' performance is a singular event, 2 sets of approximately 45 minutes, entirely improvised and working with the acoustics of the room.

Evan Parker

"If you've ever been tempted by free improvisation, Parker is your gateway drug." - Stewart Lee 

Evan Parker has been a consistently innovative presence in British free music since the 1960s. Parker played with John Stevens in the Spontaneous Music Ensemble, experimenting with new kinds of group improvisation and held a long-standing partnership with guitarist Derek Bailey. The two formed the Music Improvisation Company and later Incus Records. He also has tight associations with European free improvisations - playing on Peter Brötzmann's legendary 'Machine Gun' session (1968), with Alexander Von Schlippenbach and Paul Lovens (A trio that continues to this day), Globe Unity Orchestra, Chris McGregor's Brotherhood of Breath, and Barry Guy's London Jazz Composers Orchestra (LJCO). 

Though he has worked extensively in both large and small ensembles, Parker is perhaps best known for his solo soprano saxophone music, a singular body of work that in recent years has centred around his continuing exploration of techniques such as circular breathing, split tonguing, overblowing, multiphonics and cross-pattern fingering. These are technical devices, yet Parker's use of them is, he says, less analytical than intuitive; he has likened performing his solo work to entering a kind of trance-state. The resulting music is certainly hypnotic, an uninterrupted flow of snaky, densely-textured sound that Parker has described as "the illusion of polyphony". Many listeners have indeed found it hard to credit that one man can create such intricate, complex music in real time.