ALL KNAVERY AND COLLUSION
Who knows why and how the UK came to spawn so many significant saxophonists in the last 50 years. It might be luck, the weather or the beer. But among a list that includes John Surman, Trevor Watts and Mike Osbourne, Evan Parker occupies a special place for so vigorously and creatively pushing the tenor and soprano’s boundaries in John Coltrane’s wake. His 1980s performance at the old Basement in Sydney was so energised it seemed to create a heat haze in the room.
If his compositional and improvisational concerns have taken him away from jazz in recent decades, this album sees him nodding amiably to that idiom once more. Together with pianist Alexander Hawkins, bassist John Edwards and drummer Paul Lytton, Parker shows how dense ensemble weaves and pointillistic decorations of silence can be not just narratively compelling and wildly imaginative, but also big-hearted. Amid several more fragmentary improvisations, the centrepiece is the 24-minute The Weather Set in Hot, containing a solo tenor section of staggering invention, before that instrument boils and roils and hurls itself against the gusts of piano, drums and bass, and we can fully relish Parker’s majestic breadth of sound.