This is a fascinating context for Parker, an improvisation duo with a Chopin-specialised classical pianist, Patrick Scheyder. Scheyder's background brings a powerful undercurrent to the music: though he clearly relishes the openness of the situation, he's disinclined to tiptoe around his partner's desires, and imposes strong thematic directions to the music. One of Parker's best-recorded solo-soprano investigations of recent times bursts from the track Dancing with Dr Dee, while Scheyder's shimmering, trilling unaccompanied piano piece has both eloquent energy and patient use of space and the sonics of the piano. Skrying In Mortlake - after a toe-in-the-water start - showcases the fragility of Parker's tenor- sax nuances today in a manner unthinkable in earlier stages of his uncompromising career. - John Fordham
Evan Parker / saxophones
Patrick Scheyder / piano
1. Skrying In Mortlake - 30:22
2. Dancing With Dr. Dee - 13:47
3. Piano-Forte - 5:40
4. Other (As It Were) Optical Science, For J.Z. - 4:24
5 . Polyphonics - 10:36
Recorded November 4, 2000 at Gateway Studio, London. Painting by Vladislav Makarov.
Available as 320k MP3 or 16bit FLAC
"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.