An alumnus of the Spontaneous Music Ensemble of 1967,
British saxophonist Evan Parker (1944)
coined a wildly dissonant, incoherent and violent language at the instrument via
the Music Improvisation Company (formed in 1968 with guitarist Derek Bailey),
via Peter Broetzmann's Machine Gun (1968),
via Derek Bailey's Music Improvisation Company (that he co-founded in 1968),
via Tony Oxley's groups (from 1969),
via Barry Guy's London Jazz Composers' Orchestra (that he joined in 1972),
and via Alexander von Schlippenbach's Trio and Globe Unity Orchestra (that he joined in 1972).
The manifesto of Parker's art was The Topography of the Lungs (july 1970), notably the 20-minute Titan Moon and the twelve-minute Dogmeat, for a trio with guitarist Derek Bailey and percussionist Han Bennink.
For the next few years a duo with drummer Paul Lytton became Parker's main vehicle for experimenting
with noise and home-made instruments.
That duo was best documented
in the 13-minute each Shaker and Lytton Perdu, off Collective Calls (april 1972),
in the 28-minute The Theatre of the World and Photic Diversions (june 1973) and the 29-minute The Night the Ariel Left Harwich and Other Synchronicities (july 1974), off Three Other Stories (Parker on soprano and tenor saxophones, lyttonophone, dopplerphone, khene, ocarina and voice, Lytton on percussion and live electronics),
then in the 42-minute Two Horn'd Reasoning Cloven Fiction (november 1975), off Two Octobers (Parker on soprano and tenor saxophones, Lytton on percussion and live electronics),
and finally in the 38-minute live Ra 1+2 (june 1976).
Duets 7 1977 documents a live concert by Evan Parker on tenor & soprano saxes and Andrea Centazzo on percussion.
But Parker soon became, first and foremost, the British master of the soprano saxophone solo:
the barbaric Saxophone Solos (september 1975),
the virtuoso Monoceros (april 1978),
the live At the Finger Palace (november 1978) and
the live Vaincu.Va (november 1978), with the 35-minute solo Vaincu.Va!,
the almost supernatural Six of One (june 1980)
implemented the view of the improviser as a unity of body and mind.
He himself described it as a circus-like art of juggling and acrobatics
in order to fill the acoustic space. He achieved that goal by
employing both circular breathing (a` la Roland Kirk) in order to extend duration and tongue techniques that enabled rapid successions of notes of very short durations. He could thus mix sustained overtones and the saxophone equivalent of polyrhythms, and create an extremely versatile language that mirrored the way
people speak more than the way musicians usually play music.
One For Two And Two Twos (august 1978) documents a quartet with John Stevens (drum set & voice), Paul Rutherford (trombone & euphonium), Evan Parker (soprano & tenor saxes) and Barry Guy (double bass & electronics).
From Saxophone & Trombone (may 1980)
documents a collaboration between Evan Parker and George Lewis.
Two lengthy improvisations by Derek Bailey (guitar), Joelle Leandre (double bass), Evan Parker (tenor and soprano saxes) and George Lewis (trombone) were collected on 28 Rue Dunois Juillet 1982 (july 1982).
The Parker-Lytton duo became a trio with the addition of bassist Barry Guy and,
while losing some of its irreverent, dadaistic, provocative overtones,
heralded an austere form of trio improvisation as both Guy and Lytton kept
expanding the range of their instruments by using amplification and live
Tracks (january 1983), with the 19-minute Sidetrack,
Hook Drift and Shuffle (february 1983), a collaboration with American trombonist George Lewis that included the 34-minute Drift,
led to Atlanta (december 1986), containing four lengthy improvisations Atlanta (25 minutes), The Snake as Road Sign (17 minutes) and Geometry (20 minutes).
The trio became a staple of the improvising community thanks to yearly recordings:
Imaginary Values (march 1993),
the twelve Breaths and Heartbeats (december 1994),
the live The Redwood Session (june 1995),
Natives and Aliens (may 1996), a collaboration with pianist Marilyn Crispell,
the live At The Vortex (june 1996),
the live At Les Instants Chavires (december 1997), with the 38-minute Three-legged Chicken,
the double-CD After Appleby (june 1999), a second collaboration With pianist Marilyn Crispell, highlighted by the 20-minute Blue Star Kachina,
the 25-minute Where Heart Revive and the 51-minute live jam Capnomantic Vortex.
Seven Pieces - Live at Willisau 1995 (may 1995) documents a trio with saxophonists Daunik Lazro and Joe McPhee.
Two Chapters and an Epilogue (1999) was a collaboration with John Tilbury.
Parker's solo work continued to pursue a more intense form of music (although a bit more introverted) via
The Snake Decides (january 1986),
the monumental Conic Sections (june 1989),
the sixteen short pieces of Process and Reality (may 1991), that first used overdubs,
Chicago Solo (november 1995), his first solo tenor album,
and Lines Burnt in Light (october 2001).
His duos included
Obliquities (december 1994) with Barry Guy,
Tempranillo (november 1995) with Spanish pianist Agusti Fernandez,
Most Materiall (february 1997) with percussionist Eddie Prevost,
Here Now (january 1998) with cellist and trombonist Guenter Christmann.
Waterloo 1985 (1999) contains the one-hour Dark Interior (august 1985) with Hans Schneider (double bass), Paul Lytton (percussion and electronics), and Paul Rutherford (trombone).
The Ayes Have It (2001) documents a trio with Paul Rogers (double bass) and Jamie Muir (percussion), including the 36-minute The Ayes Have It (august 1991).
In the 1990s Parker got intrigued by the electronic sounds that
he experimented on
Hall of Mirrors (february 1990), a collaboration with Walter Prati,
Dividuality (february 1997) and Solar Wind (january 1997), two collaborations With Lawrence Casserley.
The Parker-Lytton-Guy trio became an Electro-acoustic Ensemble with the addition of Philipp Wachsmann (violin, viola, live electronics, and sound processing of Guy's and his own playing), Walter Prati (live electronics, and sound processing of Parker's playing) and Marco Vecchi (live electronics and sound processing of Lytton's playing) on
the groundbreaking Toward the Margins (may 1996),
the elegantly alien Drawn Inward (december 1998), that also featured Lawrence Casserley (also on live electronics and sound processing),
the live Memory/Vision (october 2002), with Agusti Fernandez on prepared piano and Joel Ryan on computer besides Wachsmann, Prati, Vecchi and Casserley,
The Eleventh Hour (november 2004), that added sampling keyboards (operated by Richard Barrett and Paul Obermayer) to the acoustic, electronic
and digital arsenal of Memory/Vision.
Parker was moving towards a music for soundsculptors, not just post-jazz improvisers, but, after all, he had always been a soundsculptor himself.
Parker added the ethnic element to his electro-acoustic experiments on the live Synergetics: Phonomanie III (september 1993), that mixed Vecchi and Prati with George Lewis, Korean vocalist Sainkho Namchylak, bassist Motoharu Yoshizawa, African percussionist Thebe Lipere, Vietnamese komungo harpist Jin Hi Kim and Carlos Mariani on "luaaneddas" (sort of electronic bagpipes).
Foxes Fox (july 1999) debuted a quartet with Steve Beresford on piano, John Edwards on bass and Louis Moholo on drums, that returned after a five-year
hiatus with Naan Tso (october 2004).
At the turn of the century
Parker also collaborated with the drum'n'bass duo Spring Heel Jack,
and recorded the two Dark Rags (january 2000) with Keith Rowe.
The double-disc The Two Seasons (2000) contains trios with John Edwards (double bass) and Mark Sanders (drums).
The double-CD Needles (april 2001) debuted a trio with
violinist Philipp Wachsmann and bassist Teppo Hauta-aho.
The double-CD America 2003 (may 2003) was a collaboration with Alex Schlippenbach and Paul Lytton. The idea was expanded on Bishop's Move (march 2003) to include Peter Broetzmann, bassist William Parker and drummer Hamid Drake.
Parker collaborated with Spring Heel Jack and percussionist Mark Sanders on
Trio With Interludes (2004).
Boustrophedon (september 2004) documents a live performance by the Transatlantic Art Ensemble (Parker, Roscoe Mitchell on saxophones, Anders Svanoe on alto saxophone, Corey Wilkes on trumpet, John Rangecroft on clarinet, Neil Metcalfe on flute, Nils Bultmann on viola, Philipp Wachsmann on violin, Marcio Mattos on cello, Craig Taborn on piano, Jaribu Shahid on double bass, Barry Guy on double bass, Tani Tabbal on percussion, Paul Lytton on drums).
Clapham Duos (may 2005) documents an improvisation between
John Tchicai and Evan Parker.
Time Lapse (2007) collects solo recordings from 1996-2001.
Evan Parker/Ned Rothenberg
(october 2006) collects live improvisations with
reed player Ned Rothenberg.
A Glancing Blow (august 2006) with John Edwards on double bass and Chris Corsano on percussion included A Glancing Blow (28.31) and Out of the Pocket (47.53).
Topos (march 2006) is a collaboration between pianist Agusti Fernandez,
Parker, bassist Barry Guy and percussionist Paul Lytton.
Parallelisms (february 2007), featuring the 18-minute Spore Attic Basement, was recorded by a trio with trumpeter Herb Robertson and pianist Agusti Fernandez.
A Life Saved By A Spider And Two Doves (september 2007) documents
Max Eastley on "electro-acoustic monochord",
Graham Halliwell on computer and electronics,
Mark Wastell on percussion:
A Carp Gives a Lesson in Perseverance (15.53),
Human Fireflies (14.27),
The Chessboard Cherry Tree (16.51).
Free Zone Appleby (july 2006) is a collaboration with
Italian guitarist Paolo Angeli
and Ned Rothenberg.
Evan Parker's Electro-acoustic Ensemble
featured another large line-up, with Peter Evans (trumpet), Ko
Ned Rothenberg (clarinet), Philipp Wachsmann (violin, live electronics),
Agustí Fernandez (prepared piano), Barry Guy (double-bass), Paul Lytton (percussion, live electronics), and others on their
The Moment's Energy (november 2007).
Set (composed in 2003) features Barry Guy (bass), Paul Lytton (tympani, percussion, live electronics), the Furt-duo Richard Barrett/Paul Obermayer (on electronics), Lawrence Casserley (signal processing instrument), Walter Prati (live processing) and Marco Vecchi (sound projection).
Twine (february 2007) was a collaboration with saxophonist Urs Leimgruber.
C-Section (Second Layer, 2009) was a collaboration with noise-maker
House Full Of Floors (june 2009) features John
Edwards on bass, John Russell on guitar and Aleks Kolkowski on viola.
Parker founded the Townhouse Orchestra with pianist Sten Sandell, bassist Håker Flaten and drummer Paal Nilssen-Love. They debuted with the double-disc
Whitstable Solo (july 2008) collected
soprano saxophone solos.
was a duet between Evan Parker on tenor sax and Sten Sandell on church organ.
Nightwork (january 2010)
documents two live jams by Evan Parker (on soprano and tenor saxes),
Barry Guy (on double bass) and Paul Lytton (drums and percussion:.
Cohobation (39 minutes) and Cupellation (22 minutes).
Scenes In the House Of Music (september 2009) was recorded by a quartet with Evan Parker (tenor and soprano saxes), Peter Evans (trumpet), Barry Guy (bass) and Paul Lytton (drums).
The live Brot & Honig (october 1999) documents a collaboration between Evan Parker and the Ton Art Ensemble, including
the 36-minute Brot & Honig
Syrah & Papidoux
(composed by Nicola Kruse).
Full Bloom (june 2008) documents a collaboration with
pianist Uwe Oberg.
It Won't Be Called Broken Chair (recorded in 2006) documents a collaboration between Misha Mengelberg and Evan Parker.
At Somewhere There (february 2009) collects
40 minutes of improvisation by Parker, drummer Joe Sorbara and bassist
Trance Map (october 2008 to february 2011)
documents collaborations between Parker
and Matthew Wright (live
sampling, turntables and sound design.
Evan Parker played on the Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra's 39-minute piece on
Improcherto (for HB) (march 2011), an all-acoustic 20-member unit.
Near Nadir (august 2010) documents a live collaboration between percussionist Mark Nauseef, Ikue Mori (on electronics), Evan Parker (on soprano sax), and bassist and composer Bill Laswell.
Together In Zero Space (2009) was a live collaboration between Parker and Grutronic, a project that features Stephen Grew (keyboards, processing), Richard Scott (wigi, buchla lightning, blippoo box), Nick Grew (transduction), and David Ross (drosscillator).
The Bleeding Edge (may 2010) documents sessions with Okkyung Lee (cello) and Peter Evans (trumpets), one of Parker's most lyrical achievements.
Foxes Fox - Live at the Vortex (february 2007) documents a live performance with Steve Beresford (piano), John Edwards (double bass) and Louis Moholo-Moholo (percussion), with special guest Kenny Wheeler
(trumpet & flügelhorn) joining the band for the second set.
Vivaces (april 2011) documents a live performance
by Evan Parker & GGRIL (Grand Groupe Regional
The Electroacoustic Ensemble released Hasselt (may 2010).
All Told (may 2011) documents a live performance by Eddie Prévost (drums), Evan Parker (tenor sax) and John Edwards (double bass).
Spring Heel Jack's John Coxon, Evan Parker (tenor sax) and Eddie Prevost (drums & cymbals) recorded the 55-minute live improvisation of Cinema (march 2008).
The Voice Is One (2012) documents a collaboration between
tenorist Evan Parker and pianist Agusti Fernandez.
Live at Maya Recordings Festival (september 2011) captures a live improvisation by Evan Parker (soprano and tenor saxes), Barry Guy (bass) and Paul Lytton (drums).
The double-disc Rex, Wrecks & XXX (september 2011) was a collaboration between Matthew Shipp (piano) and Evan Parker (tenor sax), including the 42-minute improvisation XXX.
Tri-Borough Triptych (Matchless, 2013) documents three live jams
among saxophonist Evan Parker, percussionist Eddie Pr‚vost and pianist
A trio with drummer Eddie Provost and pianist Sebastian Lexer recorded Tri-Borough Triptych (recorded in 2012).
The live World Of Objects (september 2013)
features Jeremiah Cymerman on clarinet, electronics
and post production, Evan Parker on tenor & soprano saxes and Nate
Wooley on trumpet. The music is mostly by Cymerman (especially the
28-minute Box Of Memories).
Either Or And (september 2013) was a collaboration with pianist Sylvie Courvoisier.
The double-saxophone trio of Evan Parker, Paul Dunmall and Tony Bianco (drums) recorded Extremes (june 2014), containing the 32-minute Extremes and the 24-minute Horus.
The two lengthy live pieces of Seven ElectroAcoustic Septet (may 2014), namely Seven-1 (46 minutes) and Seven-2 (19 minutes), introduced the new ensemble formed with Okkyung Lee (cello), George Lewis (electronics and trombone), Sam Pluta and Ikue Mori (electronics), Ned Rothenberg (clarinets and shakuhachi) and Peter Evans (trumpet).
The triple-disc 3 Nights At Cafe Oto (may 2013) documents lengthy live performances by Evan Parker (tenor sax), John Edwards (double bass), Eddie Prevost (drums), Christof Thewes (trombone) and Alexander Von Schlippenbach (piano).
A live improvisation with Joe Morris (guitar) and Nate Wooley (trumpet) is documented on Ninth Square (september 2014).
Trance Map (january 2013) was a collaboration with
Matt Wright (turntable, computer) and Toma Gouband (percussion).
The live The Hurrah (august 2014) documents a jam by the trio of Evan Parker (tenor sax), John Edwards (double bass), and Chris Corsano (drums).
The four-disc live set Making Rooms (april 2013) finally documents
Mopomoso, a group in existence since 1991 and consisting of
Evan Parker (saxes), John Russell (guitar),
John Edwards and David Leahy (both on double bass), Pat Thomas (piano), Alison
Blunt (violin), Benedict Taylor (viola), Kay Grant (voice) and Alex Ward (clarinet).
Tie The Stone To The Wheel
(march 2014) documents the duo of Evan Parker (soprano and tenor
saxes) and Seymour Wright (alto sax).
Leaps In Leicester (february 2015) documents a collaboration with pianist Alexander Hawkins, notably the 35-minute The Shimmy.
Miller's Tale (september 2015) experimented a quartet with Sylvie Courvoisier (piano), Mark Feldman (violin) and Ikue Mori (electronics).
Evan Parker played in the The Konvoj Ensemble with fellow saxophonists Lotte Anker and Ola Paulson , Liudas Mockunas on clarinets, Sten Sandell on piano, Jakob Riis on computer and Anders Uddeskog on percussion, as documented on the live Colors Of (october 2012) and Mira (november 2014), the latter containing the 20-minute In the Belly of the Whale - 3 Days and 3 Nights.
The Alexander Von Schlippenbach Trio, i.e. the pianist with Evan Parker (sax) and Paul Lovens (drums), is captured live on Warsaw Concert (october 2015).
As The Wind (september 2012) was a collaboration with Velvet Underground's sideman Mark Nauseef on metallophone based percussion and Toma Gouband on lithophone-based percussion.
The Unknown (february 2016) contains two lengthy live improvisations by the quartet of John Escreet (piano), John Hebert (double bass), Evan Parker (tenor sax) and Tyshawn Sorey (drums).
PEN (january 2015) documents a live performance by the trio of Evan Parker (tenor sax), John Edwards (double bass) and Steve Noble (percussion).
The double-disc City Fall (september 2014), containing
the 43-minute Hunting Moon and the 34-minute In Case Of Fire,
with John Edwards, reedist Mikolaj Trzaska and drummer Mark Sanders.