David Mossman is the founder of The Vortex Jazz Club in London, where in January 1983 the British trio of Evan Parker on sax, Barry Guy on bass, and Paul Lytton on drums recorded their first album together on the Incus label, "Tracks"; returning now, 43 years later, to pay tribute to the club and to record this absolutely impressive album of commanding free improvisation.
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Catalog ID: INT296
Squidco Product Code: 25460
Packaging: Jewel Case
Recorded live at Vortex Jazz Club, in London, England, on July 14th, 2016, by Ali Ward.
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• Show Bio for Evan Parker
"Evan Parker was born in Bristol in 1944 and began to play the saxophone at the age of 14. Initially he played alto and was an admirer of Paul Desmond; by 1960 he had switched to tenor and soprano, following the example of John Coltrane, a major influence who, he would later say, determined "my choice of everything". In 1962 he went to Birmingham University to study botany but a trip to New York, where he heard the Cecil Taylor trio (with Jimmy Lyons and Sunny Murray), prompted a change of mind. What he heard was "music of a strength and intensity to mark me for life ... l came back with my academic ambitions in tatters and a desperate dream of a life playing that kind of music - 'free jazz' they called it then."
Parker stayed in Birmingham for a time, often playing with pianist Howard Riley. In 1966 he moved to London, became a frequent visitor to the Little Theatre Club, centre of the city's emerging free jazz scene, and was soon invited by drummer John Stevens to join the innovative Spontaneous Music Ensemble which was experimenting with new kinds of group improvisation. Parker's first issued recording was SME's 1968 Karyobin, with a line-up of Parker, Stevens, Derek Bailey, Dave Holland and Kenny Wheeler. Parker remained in SME through various fluctuating line-ups - at one point it comprised a duo of Stevens and himself - but the late 1960s also saw him involved in a number of other fruitful associations.
He began a long-standing partnership with guitarist Bailey, with whom he formed the Music Improvisation Company and, in 1970, co-founded Incus Records. (Tony Oxley, in whose sextet Parker was then playing, was a third co-founder; Parker left Incus in the mid-1980s.) Another important connection was with the bassist Peter Kowald who introduced Parker to the German free jazz scene. This led to him playing on Peter Brötzmann's 1968 Machine Gun, Manfred Schoof's 1969 European Echoes and, in 1970, joining pianist Alex von Schlippenbach and percussionist Paul Lovens in the former's trio, of which he is still a member: their recordings include Pakistani Pomade, Three Nails Left, Detto Fra Di Noi, Elf Bagatellen and Physics.
Parker pursued other European links, too, playing in the Pierre Favre Quartet (with Kowald and Swiss pianist Irene Schweizer) and in the Dutch Instant Composers Pool of Misha Mengelberg and Han Bennink. The different approaches to free jazz he encountered proved both a challenging and a rewarding experience. He later recalled that the German musicians favoured a "robust, energy-based thing, not to do with delicacy or detailed listening but to do with a kind of spirit-raising, a shamanistic intensity. And l had to find a way of surviving in the heat of that atmosphere ... But after a while those contexts became more interchangeable and more people were involved in the interactions, so all kinds of hybrid musics came out, all kinds of combinations of styles."
A vital catalyst for these interactions were the large ensembles in which Parker participated in the 1970s: Schlippenbach's Globe Unity Orchestra, Chris McGregor's Brotherhood of Breath, Barry Guy's London Jazz Composers Orchestra (LJCO) and occasional big bands led by Kenny Wheeler. In the late 70s Parker also worked for a time in Wheeler's small group, recording Around Six and, in 1980, he formed his own trio with Guy and LJCO percussionist Paul Lytton (with whom he had already been working in a duo for nearly a decade). This group, together with the Schlippenbach trio, remains one of Parker's top musical priorities: their recordings include Tracks, Atlanta, Imaginary Values, Breaths and Heartbeats, The Redwood Sessions and At the Vortex. In 1980, Parker directed an Improvisers Symposium in Pisa and, in 1981, he organised a special project at London's Actual Festival. By the end of the 1980s he had played in most European countries and had made various tours to the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. ln 1990, following the death of Chris McGregor, he was instrumental in organising various tributes to the pianist and his fellow Blue Notes; these included two discs by the Dedication Orchestra, Spirits Rejoice and lxesa.
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. Parker's first solo recordings, made in 1974, were reissued on the Saxophone Solos CD in 1995; more recent examples are Conic Sections and Process and Reality, on the latter of which he does, for the first time, experiment with multi-tracking. Heard alone on stage, few would disagree with writer Steve Lake that "There is, still, nothing else in music - jazz or otherwise - that remotely resembles an Evan Parker solo concert."
While free improvisation has been Parker's main area of activity over the last three decades, he has also found time for other musical pursuits: he has played in 'popular' contexts with Annette Peacock, Scott Walker and the Charlie Watts big band; he has performed notated pieces by Gavin Bryars, Michael Nyman and Frederic Rzewski; he has written knowledgeably about various ethnic musics in Resonance magazine. A relatively new field of interest for Parker is improvising with live electronics, a dialogue he first documented on the 1990 Hall of Mirrors CD with Walter Prati. Later experiments with electronics in the context of larger ensembles have included the Synergetics - Phonomanie III project at Ullrichsberg in 1993 and concerts by the new EP2 (Evan Parker Electronic Project) in Berlin, Nancy and at the 1995 Stockholm Electronic Music Festival where Parker's regular trio improvised with real-time electronics processed by Prati, Marco Vecchi and Phillip Wachsmann. "Each of the acoustic instrumentalists has an electronic 'shadow' who tracks him and feeds a modified version of his output back to the real-time flow of the music."
The late 80s and 90s brought Parker the chance to play with some of his early heroes. He worked with Cecil Taylor in small and large groups, played with Coltrane percussionist Rashied Ali, recorded with Paul Bley: he also played a solo set as support to Ornette Coleman when Skies of America received its UK premiere in 1988. The same period found Parker renewing his acquaintance with American colleagues such as Anthony Braxton, Steve Lacy and George Lewis, with all of whom he had played in the 1970s (often in the context of London's Company festivals). His 1993 duo concert with Braxton moved John Fordham in The Guardian to raptures over "saxophone improvisation of an intensity, virtuosity, drama and balance to tax the memory for comparison".
Parker's 50th birthday in 1994 brought celebratory concerts in several cities, including London, New York and Chicago. The London performance, featuring the Parker and Schlippenbach trios, was issued on a highly-acclaimed two-CD set, while participants at the American concerts included various old friends as well as more recent collaborators in Borah Bergman and Joe Lovano. The NYC radio station WKCR marked the occasion by playing five days of Parker recordings. 1994 also saw the publication of the Evan Parker Discography, compiled by ltalian writer Francesco Martinelli, plus chapters on Parker in books on contemporary musics by John Corbett and Graham Lock.
Parker's future plans involve exploring further possibilities in electronics and the development of his solo music. They also depend to a large degree on continuity of the trios, of the large ensembles, of his more occasional yet still long-standing associations with that pool of musicians to whose work he remains attracted. This attraction, he explained to Coda's Laurence Svirchev, is attributable to "the personal quality of an individual voice". The players to whom he is drawn "have a language which is coherent, that is, you know who the participants are. At the same time, their language is flexible enough that they can make sense of playing with each other ... l like people who can do that, who have an intensity of purpose." "-Evan Parker Website (http://evanparker.com/biography.php)
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• Show Bio for Barry Guy
"Barry John Guy (born 22 April 1947, in London) is a British composer and double bass player. His range of interests encompasses early music, contemporary composition, jazz and improvisation, and he has worked with a wide variety of orchestras in the UK and Europe. He also taught at Guildhall School of Music.
Born in London, Guy came to the fore as an improvising bassist as a member of a trio with pianist Howard Riley and drummer Tony Oxley (Witherden, 1969). He also became an occasional member of John Stevens' ensembles in the 1960s and 1970s, including the Spontaneous Music Ensemble. In the early 1970s, he was a member of the influential free improvisation group Iskra 1903 with Derek Bailey and trombonist Paul Rutherford (a project revived in the late 1970s, with violinist Philipp Wachsmann replacing Bailey). He also formed a long-standing partnership with saxophonist Evan Parker, which led to a trio with drummer Paul Lytton which became one of the best-known and most widely travelled free-improvising groups of the 1980s and 1990s. He was briefly a member of the Michael Nyman Band in the 1980s, performing on the soundtrack of The Draughtsman's Contract.
Guy's interests in improvisation and formal composition received their grandest form in the London Jazz Composers Orchestra. Originally formed to perform Guy's composition Ode in 1972 (released as a 2-LP set on Incus and later, in expanded form, as a 2-CD set on Intakt), it became one of the great large-scale European improvising ensembles. Early documentation is spotty - the only other recording from its early years is Stringer (FMP, now available on Intakt paired with the later "Study II") - but beginning in the late 1980s the Swiss label Intakt set out to document the band more thoroughly. The result was a series of ambitious, album-length compositions designed to give all the players in the band maximum opportunity for expression while still preserving a rigorous sense of form: Zurich Concerts, Harmos, Double Trouble (originally written for an encounter with Alexander von Schlippenbach's Globe Unity Orchestra, though the eventual CD was just for the LJCO), Theoria (a concerto for guest pianist Irène Schweizer), Three Pieces, and Double Trouble Two. The group's activities subsided in the mid-1990s, but it was never formally disbanded, and reconvened in 2008 for a one-off concert in Switzerland. In the mid-1990s Guy also created a second, smaller ensemble, the Barry Guy New Orchestra.
Guy has also written for other large improvising ensembles, such as the NOW Orchestra and ROVA (the piece Witch Gong Game inspired by images by the visual artist Alan Davie).
His current improvising activities include piano trios with Marilyn Crispell and Agusti Fernandez. He has also recorded several albums for ECM, which often focus on the interface between improvisers and electronics, including his work in Evan Parker's Electro-Acoustic Ensemble and his own Ceremony.
Guy's session work in the pop field includes playing double bass on the song "Nightporter", from the Japan album Gentlemen Take Polaroids.
He is married to the early music violinist Maya Homburger. After spending some years in Ireland, they now live in Switzerland. They run the small label Maya, which releases a variety of records in the genres of free improvisation, baroque music and contemporary composition.
Guy's jazz work is characterised by free improvisation, using a range of unusual playing methods: bowed and pizzicato sounds beneath the bass's bridge; plucking the strings above the left hand; beating the strings with percussion instrument mallets; and "preparing" the instrument with sticks and other implements inserted between the strings and fingerboard. His improvisations are often percussive and unpredictable, inhabiting no discernible harmonic territory and pushing into unknown regions. However, they can also be melodious and tender with due regard for harmonic integration with other players, and at times he will even play with a straight jazz swing feel.
Similarly, in his concert works, Guy manages to alternate harmonic and rhythmic complexity worthy of 1960s experimentalists such as Penderecki and Stockhausen with joyous, often ecstatic, melody. Works such as "Flagwalk" for string orchestra and "Fallingwater - Concerto for Orchestra" display Guy's compositional skill in handling extended forms and writing for large instrumental groups.
Some of his compositions, such as "Witch Gong Game" for ensemble, use graphic notation in conjunction with cue cards to lead performers into playing and improvising material from numbered sections of the score.
He is also an architect."-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barry_Guy)
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• Show Bio for Paul Lytton
"Paul Lytton (born 8 March 1947, London) is an English free jazz percussionist.
Lytton began on drums at age 16. He played jazz in London in the late 1960s while taking lessons on the tabla from P.R. Desai. In 1969 he began experimenting with free improvisational music, working in a duo with saxophonist Evan Parker. After adding bassist Barry Guy, the ensemble became the Evan Parker Trio. He and Parker continued to work together into the 2000s; more recent releases include trio releases with Marilyn Crispell in 1996 (Natives and Aliens) and 1999 (After Appleby).
A founding member of the London Musicians Collective, Lytton worked extensively on the London free improvisation scene in the 1970s, and aided Paul Lovens in the foundation of the Aachen Musicians' Cooperative in 1976.
Lytton has toured North America and Japan both solo and with improvisational ensembles. In 1999, he toured with Ken Vandermark and Kent Kessler, and recorded with Vandermark on English Suites. Lytton also collaborated with Jeffrey Morgan (alto & tenor saxophone), with whom he recorded the CD "Terra Incognita" Live in Cologne, Germany.
He played also on White Noise's pioneer electronic pop music album An Electric Storm in 1969."-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Lytton)
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1. Music For David Mossman I 12:50
2. Music For David Mossman II 11:58
3. Music For David Mossman III 24:15
4. Music For David Mossman IV 12:29
sample the album:
"Evan Parker, Barry Guy and Paul Lytton - three legendary figures in the field of improvisation - have each developed their own epochal styles. These long- time friends and collaborators now present the latest of their Trio recordings - part of an ongoing series that began in 1980 with the now out-of-print LP Tracks. Their powerful improvisations reveal them as a trio of unyielding innovation, both conserving and constantly renewing a rich heritage of achievement in free jazz.Evan Parker writes in the liner notes: "Collective free improvisation is the utopian state arrived at in that ot her "little life" as the late John Stevens called the mental space of music making that happens when musicians of a like mind ("birds of a feather") play freely together. Paul Lytton and I first met in 1967 at a music festival in a park in Birmingham where I was playing in duo with John, Paul was playing with a jazz big band and Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac were "topping the bill" (as they used to say ). In the next years we all played together in different combinations and permutations including Barry's London Jazz Composers Orchestra and the Parker-Lytton duo. In 1980 we started to play as the trio Parker-Guy-Lytton."-Intakt
"Who exactly is the gentleman dedicatee of Music for David Mossman? A telling clue emerges in the disc's subtitle, Live at Vortex London. Mossman is the founder of the venerable English music venue that's served as regular stomping grounds for saxophonist Evan Parker, bassist Barry Guy and drummer Paul Lytton both in sum, duo and individually since its inception thirty-plus years ago. The trio first gelled several years earlier in 1980, but the players' initial partnerships date back to the 1960s and the first generation free improv community that sprang up around the pioneering efforts of John Stevens. It's a resonant historical through-line and one that Parker's pays ample respect to in his concise, but cogent liners.Parsed into four parts and re-sequenced and edited on disc into discrete pieces, the performance is par for the long-standing group, which is to say familiar in overall form, but fresh in moment-to-moment execution. Spread across just over an hour of temporal space the performance begins with textured duet between Guy and Lytton, each bringing percussive proclivities to bear on their respective instruments. The bassist's strings almost approximate piano innards in the brittle sonorities borne from their tautly wound surfaces. Lytton kicks up a continuous percolating clatter and although electronics aren't listed in the credits there's an aqueous echo undergirding certain segments of the exchanges that intimates their possible presence on the stage although probably in the form of Guy's amplifer.Parker suspends his entry for three-plus minutes, eventually alighting with a gradual expulsion of hirsute tones on tenor that slip and eddy between the frothing structures set up by his partners. Steam and speed increase and the three are soon slaloming down one of their signature spontaneous trailheads with the figurative wind at their backs to the hushed delectation of a rapt audience. Momentum eventually ebbs, opening a brief segue of airborne interplay between circular breathing and circular bowing with Lytton supplying a tethering spray and clatter from his corner. Guy resets the coordinates with an improvisation banked from the high bridge of his bass, the strings dampened and torqued to create a knotty spectrum of spectral vibrating harmonics.Subsequent solos by Parker and Lytton affect an analogous degree of concentration and resolve, their instruments purposed as vessels for extended technique ideation transmuted into high stakes aural action. The biggest surprise arrives in the closing segment with Parker's limpid tenor at its most cleanly jazz-leaning. Tonal, or in this case microtonal, scientists don't get more erudite or credentialed than these three and the evidence for such an assertion embodies this set in abundance. It's affirmation that free isn't just a face value signifier, but something deeper and more elemental. With maestros such as Parker, Guy and Lytton it's a mantra that means every encounter will contain the means for finding something worthwhile and apart regardless of what's arisen before from their enduring associations."-Derek Taylor, Dusted Magazine
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