Diverse musical elements - coruscating cymbal scrapes, shimmering amplifier hum, melancholy saxophone circlings, sharp hits of snare, string and reed, slow motion guitar riffs, deep tam-tam surges and floor tom rasps, hypnotic prepared piano figures, and hovering fragments of song-like melodies - fracture and coalesce in this single intense improvisation.
Featuring two of the foundational figures of free improvisation alongside a younger arrival, this recording captures the first meeting of this trio. They had all played together before separately, and the combination of familiarity and unfamiliarity proved productive: there's plenty of divergence and convergence here, and plenty of tension too - most interestingly, perhaps, in their differing approaches to repetition and tonality. At times coming uncomfortably close to each other, at times standing far apart, the trio moves inexorably towards a beautiful - and, in its simplicity, startling - conclusion.
" . . . everything here is circular. While the musicians are often playing continuously they only enter the foreground at distinct and isolated moments, as if circling through patterns in which they sometimes move into temporal zones indicating high volume. That sense of a score (or scroll or star map) is strong here. Parker employs circular breathing, initially for brief passages, later at greater length, reiterating short scalar phrases. The phrases are varied, first incrementally and then expansively, multiplying through overtones. There’s a sense that certain sounds – the tenor phrases, a particularly abrasive cymbal scrape – are being looped, entering at irregular intervals, sometimes triggered by one another, creating a sense of ongoing structure that’s further magnified by Coxon’s drones, occasional squiggly guitar figures and subtle references to blues. It’s subtle, continuous work." - Stuart Broomer, Point of Departure
"Something is going on here but we do not really know what. Coxon, who is a very unusual guitarist, can make his instrument sound like a toy clock or the zither in “The Third Man”, together with Parker’s elaborate sax techniques and Prévost’s almost unbearable high-pitched bowed sounds these sound splinters create an uncomfortable world, as if a man was on the run, afraid of something horrible." - Free Jazz Collective
John Coxon / guitar
Eddie Prévost / percussion
Evan Parker / saxophone
Recorded by Tom Bugs live at The Cube, Bristol on 8 March 2008. Mixed by Rick Campion at City University Music Studios
Mastered by Rupert Clervaux at Gray's Inn Road. Many thanks to Mark & Chiz (Qu Junktions) and all at The Cube. Artwork by James Vickery. Music by John Coxon, Evan Parker and Eddie Prévost
Available as 320kbp MP3 or 16bit FLAC
1. Cinema - 54:53
Eddie Prévost began his life in music as a jazz drummer. A recurring interest in this form has been maintained, although always with an experimental ethos. Along the way he has maintained his fifty-year plus experimental credentials with AMM and numerous other improvisation projects, including his now twenty-year long weekly workshop. But drumming has generally been backgrounded to his experimental percussion work. More though, is to be expected of his drumming in 2020 on forthcoming multi-CD album: The Unexpected Alchemy. A part of this Krakow festival recording features the drums and saxophone trio of Ken Vandermark, Hamid Drake, and Eddie Prévost. His most recent released recordings include AMM’s: An Unintended Legacy, and a duo with John Butcher - Visionary Fantasies, both on Matchless Recordings. Also, a solo percussion LP on the Earshots label called Matching Mix. Later, in 2020 he meets with Jason Yarde and Nathan Moore, while in March concerts and recording will hear him drumming with US guitarist Henry Kaiser and saxophonist Binker Golding.
And, early 2020 should see the publication of his fourth book: An Uncommon Music for the Common Man: a polemical memoir.
“Prévost's free drumming flows superbly making use of his formidable technique. It’s as though there has never been an Elvin Jones or Max Roach.” - Melody Maker
“Relentlessly innovative yet full of swing and fire.” – Morning Star
John Coxon, perhaps uniquely for an improvising guitarist, is inspired as much by the plangencies of Reggie Young as by the astringencies of Derek Bailey. As irascible and as spiky as it gets, his playing is always haunted by the ghosts of popular song and fragments of the blues.
"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.