At Les Instants Chavirés

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Recorded in December 1997 direct-to-hard-disk by Jean-Marc Foussat in a tiny club space outside Paris called Les Instants Chavirés (meaning "capsized moments," which also explains the title of track four, where Foussat's equipment started taking on water itself), this fine live album further documents the work of improvised music's longest lasting outfit. While Evan Parker's legendary circular breathing work on the soprano sax has long attained a kind of timeless celestial perfection, his craggy and granular tenor playing often seems to be reaching back to the free jazz tradition he sprang from in the late 1960s. Sparring partners Paul Lytton (percussion) and Barry Guy (bass) are extraordinarily busy on the opening "Montreuil Motion," but on "Asp Irate" they judiciously leave more space for Parker's soprano to float into. Guy's extraordinary virtuosity is evident throughout; for sheer stamina alone one can appreciate why Cecil Taylor admires him so much. In the days when vinyl restricted the duration of a record to three quarters of an hour, the 38-minute "Three Legged Chicken (for Vernon)" might have stood on its own as an album. After the symphonic grandeur of this central piece, one wonders why Parker chose to include the two brief closing tracks, especially since "In which the Moment Capsizes" has to be abruptly faded due to the failure of Foussat's equipment, but Parker completists will neither mind nor let this album pass them by.

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