Chicago Solo

Evan Parker

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Chicago Solo Review

by Thom Jurek

Recorded in a Chicago studio and feeling as if it were a live concert, despite his many solo saxophone recordings, the Chicago Solo by Evan Parker is very special. For one thing, this is a completely tenor saxophone set; the trademark soprano is nowhere in evidence. For another, Parker seems very interested in the extended tones of the horn rather than in the fiery creation of microtonal knots of sound. On "Chicago Solo 3," he pulls his tone right from the bell, rolling out notes along the physical properties of the horn itself, exploring each vibration and sub-tone as a color and of its own territory, worthy of exploration and he follows them into the bell and back. His "No. 7" solo he dedicates to Lee Konitz (one of four here, the others are for Chris MacGregor, "Mr." Braxton, and George Lewis), and he utilizes a pair of phrases from Konitz's own solo disc "Motion," and turns them into a wonderland of tonal and harmonic equations that remain unresolved -- perhaps awaiting Konitz to respond? The lower register explorations of "No. 14" are remarkable for their tenacity of embouchure. Parker turns his own lines into bent, mirrored images of themselves, keeps the arpeggio range close to the vest and claims a melody from them that stands in counterpoint to the original phrase. This is a fascinating and very listening disc of solo improvisations, one that is likely never to find a wide enough audience for its brilliant accomplishment on tenor saxophone.

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