First vinyl re-issue of Evan Parker’s duo with George Lewis. Transferred from the original masters, we discovered that the original Incus LP was cut at the wrong speed - and so, we present the first vinyl issue of the correct masters, or ‘mastas’ as Adam Skeaping, legendary engineer who is also responsible for Six of One and Compatibles, fondly calls them.
Skeaping, always working with the latest in recording technology for the time, has a knack for gaining access to remarkable spaces. Good spaces that were cheap because no one else had discovered them. The Art Workers Guild is a Georgian Hall in Bloomsbury, London, with lofty ceilings and hard wooden floors. It’s the perfect room to exercise an instrument to its full length, to ‘run the full length of the staircase’ in Parker's words. Two bells to ring off the floor and remain in dextrous, airy resonance. Recorded at 30ips on enormous reels, the recording captures all the fine filigree detail so celebrated on Parker’s later ‘Six of One’, though here we are treated to tenor as well as soprano, plus, of course, George Lewis’ trombone.
Parker and Lewis first met at Moers festival, Lewis having just played excerpts of Coltrane’s ‘Giant Steps’ with Anthony Braxton. Living in Paris, it wasn’t so hard for a young Parker to invite him for a session on his new imprint, Incus. Though having been part of the AACM, toured with Count Basie and made records for Black Saint, this would be Lewis’ first foray into British improv, excited by the idea the Bailey and Parker were attempting to open up the notion of improvisation to include “the freshness of the immediate encounter”.
Lewis had not long recorded his solo LP, which mixes lively hints of Ellington and tender lyricism with total experimentation in three part overdubbed trombone. From Saxophone to Trombone veers towards his wilder end of technicality, and features some of Lewis’ rarer, starker improv - all avant garde burbles and bubbles, breath control and scalar flights. It’s a recording of two young masters, documented beautifully, and released for the first time on vinyl at its intended speed.
Download will be avaliable on release day - 17th November.
"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.