Circular breathing -- Evan Parker's revolutionary saxophone technique -- had reached an impressive level of exposure by 2001. The groundbreaking flurries of notes have become textbook material for aspiring improvisers. Yet, after decades, Parker can still make it sound as cutting-edge and exciting as if he just discovered it. Lines Burnt in Light is comprised of three solo soprano saxophone improvisations recorded on October 11, 2001. Six weeks later the CD became the first release from Psi, Parker's own record label (his first since the founding days of Incus). The three pieces (27, 13, and 22 minutes long) were recorded at St. Michael and All Angels Church, a venue with fantastic acoustics. You can hear each of the musician's high-speed notes ricocheting on the high ceilings, its harmonics decaying left and right of the central fountain of sound. It renders Parker's soprano sax bigger than life. He performed "Line 1" before the audience arrived. A sense of urgency rarely heard in his '90s recordings inhabits the piece. The bad news is that this CD contains over an hour of nonstop streams of notes. Those who find that particular Parker sound annoying will bail out very quickly. But the mesmerizing, hypnotizing effect works great and the technique is simply stunning. So the good news is that Lines Burnt in Light stands as one of if not the best document illustrating the man's circular breathing/playing. Strongly recommended, especially to newcomers.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture