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Recently @ Squidco:

Don Cherry:
Complete Communion & Symphony For Improvisers, Revisited (ezz-thetics by Hat Hut Records Ltd)

Following a 1964 Albert Ayler tour, trumpeter Don Cherry remained in Europe, working on new concepts of improvising based on form itself, developing his concepts with saxophonist Gato Barbieri, vibraphonist Karl Berger & bassist J.F. Jenny Clark, composing two brilliant albums: 1966's Communion with Barbieri, Henry Grimes & Ed Blackwell; and in 1967 Symphony for Improvisers as a septet. ... Click to View


Nick Fraser Quartet:
If There Were No Opposites (ezz-thetics by Hat Hut Records Ltd)

First recording in 2012 as a trio with saxophonist Tony Malaby as a guest, 9 years later Toronto drummer Nick Fraser's quartet with Malaby as a permanen member, Rob Clutton on double bass and Andrew Downing on cello show their long collaborations strenght in a set of improvisations plus compositions for Decidedly Jazz Danceworks and the DJD production, Juliet & Romeo. ... Click to View


Ivo Perelman (Duos w/ Dave Burrell / Marilyn Crispell / Aruan Ortiz / Aaron Parks / Sylvie Courvoisie / Agusti Fernandez / Craig Taborn / Angelica Sanchez / Vijay Iyer):
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Referring to the brass saxophone and the piano's ivory keys, Brazilian saxophonist based in New York City Ivo Perelman celebrates his 60th birthday with this 9-CD set of diverse approaches to sax & piano duos, performed with some of world's finest improvising pianists: Dave Burrell, Marilyn Crispell, Aaron Parks, Augusti Fernandez, Craig Taborn, Angelica Sanchez and Vijay Iyer. ... Click to View


Alex Ward:
Gated (Discus)

... Click to View


Blue Lines Trio (Scheen / van der Weide / Hadow):
Blue Lines Trio (Casco Records)

With all the tongue-in-cheek aspects of Dutch improvisers, the piano trio of Michiel Scheen on piano, Raoul van der Weide on bass, crackle box & sound objects and George Hadow on drums, all hail from a superb pedigree of European Free Improv involvement, proven through comprehensible playing with a wonderful sense of humor and joy in their approach to delightfully smart playing. ... Click to View


Axel Dorner:
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A companion of sorts to the Euphorium release from Leimgruber/Turner/Dorner/da Boff/Flesh, London/Leipzig/Luzern, trumpeter Axel Dörner breaks off solo for an extended improvisation recorded at the same studio on the same day in Leipzig, employing his unique approach to the instrument in an 18-minute exploration of tone, timbre, and unexpected brass utterance. ... Click to View


Alex Reviriego:
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Spanish double bassist (Memoria Uno) in a solo album recorded by Ferran Fages in 2019, the second chapter of his "German Poets Trilogy" following his 2018 Blaue Tauben album, here inspired by the writings of Romanian-born poet Paul Celan in an intense and moving album of dense foreboding depicted through nine improvisations of heavy bowing, ruminative harmonics and dark friction. ... Click to View


Axioms:
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Anne-F Jacques / Takamitsu Ohta:
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Using small objects and contact microphones to create peacefully clacking, mewling and idiosyncratic utterances, sound artists Takamitsu Ohta and Anne-Francoise Jacques developed this installation shown in 2019 at the Bonjour! Gendaibunmei gallery in Kyoto, recorded by Jacques as a tour of the various sonic manifestations that a visitor to the gallery might experience. ... Click to View


Keith Tippett / Matthew Bourne:
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Two generations of remarkable pianists--Keith Tippets and Matthew Bourne--performed a series of two-piano concerts between 2017 and 2019, also recording in the studio, as heard in this 2-CD release, the first a set of consequential piano duos recorded at Leeds Conservatoire in 2019, the 2nd disc a live performance at Daylight Music at Union Chapel, London, Tippetts' final public performance. ... Click to View


Takatsuki Trio Quartet w/ Tobias Delius / Alex Dorner:
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The Berlin-based collective Takatsuki Trio of Rieko Okuda on piano, Antti Virtaranta on double bass and Joshua Weitzel on guitar & Shamisen are expanded to a Quartett in two extended live sets at Berlins' Kuhlspot Social Club in 2020, first in an expansive set with trumpeter Axel Dorner, and then an intensely active set with tenor saxophonist & clarinetist Tobias Delius. ... Click to View


The Remote Viewers :
The Remote Code [3 CDs] (Remote Viewers)

Three CDs of three concerts at London's Iklecktik Club, presenting primarily compositions by David Petts plus collective improvisations, from Adrian Northover, David Petts, Caroline Kraabel and Sue Lynch on saxophones, John Edwards on bass and Rosa Theodora on piano, with Northover, Edwards & Petts adding percussion and electronics to their cryptically rich music. ... Click to View


New Rumours And Other Noises (Ada Rave / Nicolas Chentaroli / Raoul van der Weide):
The Moonlight Nightcall (Casco Records)

The debut of the Amsterdam-based trio of Argentinian pianist Nicolas Chientaroli and saxophonist & clarinetist Ada Rave with Dutch bassist Raoul van der Weide, all three using preparations, objects and voice to extend their unique approach to instant composition, heard in eight succinct, animated and sometimes eccentric dialogs recorded at BIMHuis. ... Click to View


Xavier Pamplona Septet:
Play The (Casco Records)

Initiating his Netherlands-based ensemble in 2016, contrabassist Raoul van der Weide assembles younger musicians, alongside Michael Moore for one piece, orchestrated up to a septet performing a dizzying and joyfully fun array of original compositions including pieces from ICP composers Bert Koppelaar, Guus Janssen and Tristan Honsinger, and a piece from Fred Katz. ... Click to View


Homei Yanagawa:
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Two extended pieces of solo free improvisation from Japanese alto saxophonist Homei Yanagawa, aka Yoshinori Yanagawa, who regularly performs solo, releasing this album 30 years after his first solo album in 1991, Ground and Figure, here recording in the studio for confidently active and diverse approaches to solo expression; engaging and absorbing work. ... Click to View


The Pitch (Baltschun / Nutters / Joh / Thieke):
KM28 [CASSETTE w/ DOWNLOAD] (Tripticks Tapes)

The Pitch is the Berlin quartet of Boris Baltschun on JI organ &, sines, Koen Nutters on upright bass, Morten Joh on JI electric vibes & cassette tape delay and Michael Thieke on clarinet, performing at Karl-Marx-Strasse 28 as they break off into solos, duos and trios to create spaciously reflective electroacoustic music of indirect melodic warmth and development; gorgeous. ... Click to View


An PEK Solo Orchestra of PEKs:
Prisms (Evil Clown)

The first "Orchestra of PEKS" album to feature Tim Kaiser's recent electro-acoustic instrument, this multi-track solo recording also introduces multi-wind / multi-instrumentalist David Peck's new West African Kora, in a wild electroacoustic set performed on a dizzying array of reeds, winds, strings, electronics, metallic percussion, wood percussion, sirens and thunder tube. ... Click to View


Rodrigo Amado / This Is Our Language Quartet:
Let The Free Be Men (Trost Records)

Referencing Ornette Coleman in the group name, Portuguese tenor saxophonist engages three US free jazz players--legendary saxophonist and pocket trumpeter Joe McPhee, double bassist Kent Kessler and drummer Chris Corsano--for this 2017 concert at Jazzhouse in Copenhagen, Denmark, capturing four exemplary, at times explosive, and always tightly interactive collective improvisations. ... Click to View


Mofaya! (John Dikeman / Jaimie Branch / Luke Stewart / Aleksandar Skoric):
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A fiery record of collective free improvisation from the Mofaya! Quartet of American saxophonist based in The Netherlands John Dikeman, Chicago trumpeter Jaimie Branch, US East Coast bassist Luke Stewart and Slovenian drummer Aleksandar Skoric, recording live at Roze Tanker in Amsterdam for three exhilarating improvisations that embody US & European Free Jazz forms. ... Click to View


Lee Ranaldo / Jim Jarmusch / Marc Urselli / Balazs Pandi:
Churning of the Ocean (Trost Records)

Dark, often unsettling and rich in detail and innuendo, bassist Marc Urselli brings together this quartet with Lee Ranaldo on guitar, pedals & bells, Jim Jarmusch on guitars, pedals & synth, and Balazs Pandi on drums for their second album of sublimely tension-filled improvisation, patiently building to stealthy momentum and retreating back into night. ... Click to View


Eunhye Jeong:
Nolda (ESP Disk)

The title referring to the Korean word for "play" in a sense of transcending physical reality without abandoning it, pianist Eunhye Jeong, aka Chi-Da, presents a playful and free-flowing enjoyment in nine original compositions, revealing discerning experience and a nimble approach to her instrument as she explores a diverse range of moods through impressive technical skill. ... Click to View


SuperKlang (Aurier / Lemetre):
SuperKlang (Umlaut Records)

An effusive album of violin and percussion, fueled by the Iranian zarb drum and augmented with an eclectic mix of frame drums, nyckelharp and Tibetan bowls, from the French duo of violinist Frederic Aurier and percussionist Sylvain Lemetre, both trained classical musicians drawn to jazz forms, their duo an eclectically enjoyable blend of experimental and danceable, joyful music. ... Click to View


Umlaut Big Band:
Mary's Ideas [2 CDs] (Umlaut Records)

Rare and newly discovered works from jazz composer and pianist Mary Lou Williams performed by the Umlaut Big Band in their series of portraits of forgotten jazz artist, here taking a broad look at the prodigious career of this essential and gifted pianist, composer & arranger, whose influence on swing and early be-bop deserves this fitting and inclusive overview. ... Click to View


As If 3 (Bommel / Weide / Janssen):
Klinkklaar (Casco Records)

Bassist Raoul van der Weide formed this sophisticated Dutch piano trio with pianist Frank van Bommel and drummer Wim Janssen (the latter two part of Guus Janssen's trio) exploring instant composition in a variety of conceptual approaches, including richly lyrical music, darkly mysterious environments, and spirited and inventive interplay; an accomplished and encompassing album. ... Click to View


ISM:
Japanese Flower [VINYL] (Umlaut Records)

The ISM trio brings together Berlin, UK and Paris improvisers Antonin Gerbal (drums), Pat Thomas (piano) and Joel Grip (double bass) for their second album since 2015, recording live at Tokyo's Knuttel House in 2018 for two extended improvisations, collective pieces that unfold from lyrical beginning into tightly packed exchanges of exhilarating blooms. ... Click to View


Graham Dunning / Edward Lucas:
End Of A Cable [CASSETTE w/ DOWNLOAD] (Tsss Tapes)

A series of unusual improvisations between London free improvising trombonist Edward Lucas (Hyperion Ensemble, London Experimental Ensemble) and experimental sound artist, turntablist & percussionist Graham Dunning, merging acoustic sources with controlled feedback, objects and field recordings, pressed to dubplate to create these engagingly strange and concise dialogs. ... Click to View


Marcus Schmickler :
Sky Dice / Mapping the Studio [VINYL w/ DOWNLOAD] (Editions Mego)

Two major works designed for multi-channel sound projections from electronic composer Marcus Schmickler: "Sky Dice / Mapping the Studio", a work for ARP 2500, Publison DHM89B, Publison Infernal Machine and Computer, premiered at Donaueschinger Tage fur Neue Musik in 2018; "Fortuna Ribbon" a 6-part work based on spatial hearing and auditory otoacoustic distortions. ... Click to View


Sean Conly:
The Buzz (577 Records)

A mix of lyrical, free and traditional compositions, the majority from leader, New York bassist Sean Conly, along with pieces from long-time collaborator Michael Attias, Sam Rivers and Paul Motian, performed in the piano trio format with drummer Francisco Mela and pianist Leo Genovese, in a great balance of jazz steeped in tradition but living fully in the present. ... Click to View


Sean Conly:
The Buzz [VINYL] (577 Records)

A mix of lyrical, free and traditional compositions, the majority from leader, New York bassist Sean Conly, along with pieces from long-time collaborator Michael Attias, Sam Rivers and Paul Motian, performed in the piano trio format with drummer Francisco Mela and pianist Leo Genovese, a great balance of jazz steeped in tradition but living fully in the present. ... Click to View


James Lewis Brandon / Red Lily Quintet (w / William Parker/ Chad Taylor / Kirk Knuffke / Chris Hoffman):
Jesup Wagon [VINYL w/ DOWNLOAD] (Tao Forms)

Led by tenor saxophonist James Brandon Lewis and peformed by his Red Lily Quintet with Kirk Knuffke on cornet, William Parker on bass & gimbri, Christopher Hoffman on cello and Chad Taylor on drums & mbira, Lewis' work explores and reflects on the legacy of scientist George Washington Carver through 7 remarkable free jazz compositions. ... Click to View



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  Free Music Missionary or Professional Juggler  

Evan Parker Discusses Four Decades in Free Improvisation


By Marc Chenard
Photo by Martin Morissette 2003-06-19

Call it 'free jazz', 'free music', or 'European Improvised Music' if you want, but one thing is for sure: it is as vibrant nowadays, if not more than when it was first thrust upon the transatlantic music scene a little less than forty years ago. As enduring as its history has been over there, it is now spanning the Great Divide and reaching not only a steadily growing audience but an increasingly younger one at that. Of its most heralded practioners, British tenor and soprano saxophonist Evan Parker is clearly one of its leading figures and, at 59, his commitment to this art form has never flagged. Two summers ago, during the debut edition of a festival of improvised music held in Montreal, Evan Parker visited the city for the first time in 15 years. Between two evening performances, one solo, the other with a pair of live electronics players, he spoke at length of the music he has been unerringly devoted to for the last 35 years, sharing some insights on its checkered history while expatiating, so to speak, on a few of the fineries of his own artistic practices and beliefs. Evan Parker

Marc Chenard: In 1997, veteran Belgian pianist Fred van Hove made an interesting point when I asked him to contrast the state of improvised music now from the early days of the 1960s: for him it used to be like jumping off a cliff, but now it's more like finding your way through a jungle. Do you agree with that statement? Since you too are a 'first generation' free improviser, you have seen this music change considerably over time.

Evan Parker: To me jumping off a cliff speaks of an uncertain voyage with a messy and most likely painful end to it. But wandering through the jungle doesn't really speak of any direction, so you may not know where you're going and be lost. I'm not quite sure I follow that. This music certainly has a history to it and we play as much in reference to it as our to own current activities. Now this calls into question the issue of stylistic or aesthetic coherence, and how we can keep something fresh while keeping it true to a certain way of thinking, or line of development. Yes, I've been called a 'first generation' free improvisor, but it's really hard to say where or when this music really started, and while it may be true in a certain context, it's not really the case when you look at the bigger picture.

M.C.: Speaking of things historical, London in the late '60s was really a fulcrum of sorts, and one place in particular played an important role in the emergence of the British free music scene, that being the Little Theater. How did you get involved?

E.P.: The late drummer John Stevens just invited me to play there, and it was really his fiefdom. He had the ear of the owner (Jean Pritchard was her name), and she'd been operating an after-hours hangout for actors who, by the way, weren't that crazy about the music. So it must have been a struggle for John to keep her straight, so to speak, but he had the social skills to do that.

M.C.: At that same period, you would also get to know other European free improvising musicians from the continent, like bassist Peter Kowald [who died last year, after this interview took place].

E.P.: Peter came to London in fact, but we never played at the Little Theater. He joined me and John at a time when our group (i.e. the Spontaneous Music Ensemble, or SME for short) was reduced to just a duo. We were working at a small folk club called 'Les Cousins', which interestingly enough was operated by the blues musician Alexis Korner. At that time, he had this duo with a guy called Victor Brocks, and they had this sort of idealistic notion of playing a very free kind of blues while were doing a very free kind of jazz. So we'd each do a set thentry to play together at the end of the week... but that didn't go on for too long. So we played there with Peter over the Summer of '67. Late that year, Peter invited me to come to this music workshop that the radio producer Joachim-Ernst Behrendt was putting together for the South German radio in Baden Baden. But I only got in because John Tchicai decided to cancel at the last minute. It's on that occasion I first met Peter Brötzmann and Gunther Hampel, as well as Don Cherry, Marion Brown and Jean ne Lee.

M.C.: So I gather this session was what lead up to the now 'seminal' recording "Machine Gun"?

E.P.: Right. And Brötzmann also introduced me to Alex von Schlippenbach (around 1970), but that was after getting to know Willem Breuker, Han Bennink and Misha Mengelberg. Kowald, on the other hand, was responsible for bringing me together with Irene Schweizer and Pierre Favre, and we worked for a couple of years together, and did that one recording for Wergo in '69. Sometimes they played just as a trio, or I'd join them when they could afford bringing me over. I was now getting better acquainted with the German scene, and thanks to an invitation from Jost Gebers (the now soon to retire producer of FMP Records in Berlin), a larger version of SME performed there, which had Dave Holland, Derek Bailey, Trevor Watts, John and myself.

M.C.: So it was John who was responsible for bringing you and Derek together.

E.P.: In effect, because he was playing occasionally at the Little Theater club with that trio called 'Joseph Holbrooke', the one with Gavin Bryars and Tony Oxley. But Gavin left to study in America, so it was from there that we started playing together. It was also around that time that we did that record for ECM (" Music Improvisation Company"). Come to think of it, it's really a complicated period to re-construct, because there were so many contacts happening at the same time.

M.C.: Among those contacts, there were the Blue Notes, that legendary South African band who settled in London for a while. They, too, had quite an effect.

E.P.: Sure, their approach was so different, but it was not like we were trying to learn their music only; they were just as interested by our free playing as we were by theirs. I remember doing a gig with the pianist Chris McGregor and the drummer Louis Moholo, just playing completely free, and that was probably around or before 1970. The trumpeter Mongezi Feza also did the same, and Dudu Pukwana, the sax player, would go to Holland to play with Misha and Han. To this day, Louis is still the happiest when he plays free.

M.C.: I can imagine there were a lot of sessions going on during the day, but were there many more venues to bring this to the public?

E.P.: Well, the Little Theater was pretty much the place, but there was also a short period, of about a year and a half or two, when Ronnie Scott's club kept its original Gerrard Street locale while starting up its new one right across on Frith Street. It was probably more jazzy on the average, like Mike Westbrook's bands, Chris McGregor, John Surman and Mike Osborne, with John Stevens and myself usually slotted on a midweek evening. Mike also had a place of his own called 'Peanuts' and that was further East, near Liverpool Street. His own people mostly played there, but he would farm out gigs to others as well. So you could say it was pretty healthy back then, but I think we need to have a few more Peanuts-type places happening now. I'm always encouraging bass players and drummers to do this, because they're the natural ones for this type of thing.

M.C.: In contrast to that period, how does London compare nowadays? It is happening?

E.P.: Absolutely! There are hundred of musicians now and it's impossible to keep up. There's a whole generation of people in their20's and younger now ready and eager to pursue this music. Take for example, the bassist John Edwards (who plays with Jah Wobble), he's still quite young and very much involved in this scene.

M.C.: Interestingly enough, this renewed interest in improvised music is not only a local phenomenon, but a more international one as well. Take, for instance, the United States: It's blossoming there as well, both in terms of musicians and audience.

E.P.: There's a surge, that's for sure... and I hope it carries on like this! Let's see, here we are in June, and I've been over four times already, a record for me. But the interesting thing is that I don't even initiate these contacts. They come from people inviting me. And they come not only from New York or other major cities, but from more remote places, too.

M.C.: On the first night of your stay here, you played a solo saxophone concert, and this has been very central to your art over the last 25 years. But until only recently, you would only play soprano in solo contexts, how come?

E.P.: I've always thought of myself as being a soprano player who doubles on tenor rather than the other way around. Actually, when I switched from alto to tenor way back when, there was a time I was only playing soprano. Nowadays, in certain contexts, like with drums, I only play tenor, but it's taken time for that to happen. And after playing just soprano in solo contexts, that too is changing.

M.C.: It worked out to about half and half in the performance. What also struck me is the fact that your tenor language is moving closer than ever to your soprano language, whereas in the past it seemed you made a conscious effort to keep both of these as separate as possible. What interests me here is to find out how you are working on translating the concepts of the soprano to the tenor.

E.P.: That's quite new for me, indeed, and it does seem they're overlapping more than ever. With the techniques I've developed to control certain possibilities on one horn, it's as if I can reverse the roles of the two hands when I'm trying to translate these over to what I could call the "physics of the tenor." You see, it all has to do with how broken air columns work. Now this may well be a broad generalization, but I could say that the soprano is a closed column broken in the left hand while the tenor tends to be more of a left hand position modified by the right hand. Now this might sound impenetrable to anyone who doesn't play the saxophone, or maybe even for those who do, but it means something to me. You could say that it has to do with the ways in which the keys fall under your hand, the weight distribution and the fingerings as well, because a lot of this stuff depends on getting up to a certain speed.

M.C.: I imagine you have to practice a lot to keep this up.

E.P.: These days, I'm not practicing as much as I should, because I'm too busy, traveling and what not. But one can do a lot of conceptual practicing as well, something like mental arithmetic where you're thinking of intervallic patterns. For instance: to go through sequences of alternating minor thirds and fourths, or semi-tones and flat fifths, from bottom to top and knowing where to go down when you run out of instrument. The eight or ten hour practice day is long in the past for me, but there were times when I was only doing that because work was so scarce.

M.C.: After 25 years of solo concerts and having built such a language, do you have a feeling of living too much by it? Are there times where you'd like to break away from it?

E.P.: That calls to mind the title of a book by Doris Lessing and that is Prisons We Choose to Live Inside. I guess it's a prison I've chosen to live in. Of course, you can choose to do something different, but that's rather easy to juststand up and do something nobody expects. I find it more interesting to do what people expect and then still surprise them, or myself for that matter. For the moment, I am finding things and recombining them in interesting ways. I like that feeling of capturing people's ears and taking them on a journey. I can be a guide only if I go down some paths I already know myself. After all, it's not much good having a guide who doesn't know his way through the jungle...

M.C.: Another interesting facet of your music is your involvement with electronics over the last decade, like your electro-acoustic project involving your own trio and four soundmen.

E.P.: My interest in live electronics goes back to the early '70s, and I even dabbled with contact microphones on the saxophone, but that didn't suit me very well since the technology was still crude. You had people like Hugh Davies and Paul Lytton who were using analogue synthesizers, and that goes back to the early Music Improvisation Company days of 1968 or so. More recently, I've been dealing with people who work more on sound manipulation rather than generation, and that is what my electro-acoustic project is about.

M.C.: Though you have played in so many musical contexts, there are two groups which are pretty much at the core of your own activities and these are the trio with Barry Guy and Paul Lytton and the other one with Alex von Schlippenbach and Paul Lovens. How would you characterize or contrast these in musical terms?

E.P.: First of all, the first group is under my own name, but I make it as cooperative as possible, while the second is under Alex's name, but he too makes it very democratic. Now Alex has maintained his ties with more conventional jazz, unlike myself, and maybe because he's a little older than I am, I find there are more recognizably jazzy elements to his trio than mine. But like my soprano music, which has been drawing my tenortowards it, there are interrelations between both of these trios as well. I might discover one thing in one group and bring it into theother.

M.C.: I often hear musicians talking about 'success' in improvisation, or who say this was a 'successful improvisation'. In your mind, what constitutes an improvisation that works?

E.P.: Well, let's compare this with juggling hoops. If they keep falling on the floor, then you're not juggling very well. Now you're going to ask me, what constitutes a hoop that falls on the floor in free music, so I'm going to tell you what Fats Waller said, and it goes something like this: "If you don't know, nobody can help you." There are certain things that just can't be explained. In our case, we aren't moving hoops, but ideas through the air. So if too many ideas fall on the floor, we're not juggling well. Now you can ask me what constitutes an idea and so on, but what you're asking me to do is to turn music into conversation and that I cannot do. And that's why we do music, because its qualities don't relate to juggling or conversation. There are things you can't put into words about improvisation, it's as simple as that. One can make all kinds of analogies, but they don't help, because a couple of questions will reveal their inadequacy. Sure, I can carry on stringing analogies for someone, and that person may well carry on penetrating them, but if he or she doesn't hear it in the end, then that's all to it. In fact, there are people for whom all free improvisation is by definition unsuccessful, and I'm not going to tell them they're wrong: I'll just tell them they're on a different wavelength from me. That's all right. I'm no missionary, you know.



Conversation taken by Marc Chenard on the terrasse of the Casa del Popolo on June 27,2001
More info on Evan Parker at: http://www.shef.ac.uk/misc/rec/ps/efi/ehome.html



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reviews about releases
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Squidco

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