Tuesday 24 July 2018, 7.30pm
On the day after soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy's birthday Evan Parker and Seymour Wright will play and discuss his music on saxophones and discs.
Steve Lacy (1934-2004) was one of the great saxophonists. Evan Parker has described him as the 'patron saint of the soprano saxophone'. After working with Thelonious Monk and Cecil Taylor, and leading John Coltrane to take up the soprano saxophone Lacy went on to develop a huge body of his own music through a life in and around the soprano saxophone.
Abby and Fielding (from the OTO office) will be DJing some of their favourite moments in Lacy's vast discography throughout the evening.
"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.
Seymour Wright lives in London. His practice is about the creative, situated friction of learning, ideas, people and the saxophone – music, history and technique – actual and potential. This is an on-going, rigorous and exhaustive exploration of imaginations, instrument, spaces and strucutures. The energy of this learning is applied to various collaborations and contexts to access/share what he has called the ‘awkward wealth of investigation’.
His solo work is documented on three widely acclaimed self-released collections Seymour Wright of Derby (2008), Seymour Writes Back (2015) and Is This Right? (2017).
His current collaborations include: abaria with Ute Kanngiesser; a duet with Crystabel Riley; [Ahmed] with Antonin Gerbal, Joel Grip and Pat Thomas; GUO with Daniel Blumberg; The Experimental Library with Evie Ward; XT with Paul Abbott; lll人 with Daichi Yoshikawa and Paul Abbott, a 'new jazz' trio with John Chantler and Steve Noble; an on-going inter-textual quartet with Paul Abbott, Cara Tolmie and Will Holder; a trans-atlantic duet with Anne Guthrie, and, with Jean-luc Guionnet a project addressing an imaginary lacunae in Aby Warburg's Atlas Mnemosyne. Bits of his writing has been published in C//A, Sound American and The Wire.