In the spring of 2003, Evan Parker was supposed to take his trio on an 18-date, 30-day North-American tour (that also included a double-trio gig with Peter Brötzmann at FIMAV). A few days before crossing the Atlantic, bassist Barry Guy found himself unable to leave England for personal reasons and pianist Alexander von Schlippenbach was hurriedly enlisted for the trip. And so America 2003 presents a hybrid between Parker's trio and von Schlippenbach's trio (which usually includes Parker and drummer Paul Lovens), two long-standing groups, something very rare in free improvisation. This double CD presents two 60-minute sets recorded 14 days apart in New Orleans and Seattle. The pianist tends to bring out the softer, jazzier side of Parker, but this time the sax player is downright melodious at times, and especially in the opening piece of each disc, "Rejoicing in Their Hearts Over the Journey" and "No One Wanted to Be an Artist but Every Man Wanted to Be Paid for His Labors" -- incidentally the two longest tracks of the album. Listeners hoping for the kind of rush usually produced by the Parker/Guy/Lytton trio will have to wait for the set closers "To Avoid Monotony" and "Down With All Those Who Do Not Believe in Us," both typically raucous and frantic. Parker's music often stretches out across the dynamic spectrum, but this album goes further, stretching through a wider range of expression. From von Schlippenbach's gorgeous chords in "Ask to Be Taken on as a Trumpeter" (by the way, all titles are taken from Franz Kafka's novel America) to numerous lyrical sax lines, all the way to Parker's flooring circular playing (in his solo spot "The Breath of Coldness"), this album feels at times like it is meant to offer a little of everything to everyone. It is not as strong as the classic recordings by either trios or the 2 x 3 = 5 project that involved all three musicians a few years earlier, but it makes a very fine document of that particular tour.
AllMusic Review by François Couture
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2