Günter Christmann / Evan Parker

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This challenging collection of duos and solos by Evan Parker and cellist/trombonist Günter Christmann reveals not only the limits of improvisation, but the territory in which it breaks down. Each player here is afforded two solos. Parker's, as it may be expected, is one of knotty circularity, compressing the tones around one series of notes until they give up every possible sonic combination. His cascading skeins of notes are staggered against an expanding tonal base designed to shrink the actual vibration of the note. When he is paired in both cello and trombone duets with Christmann, situations he has not worked in extensively, Parker's methodology in essence commands or dominates the proceedings. Christmann's cello, as tonally rich and deeply resonant as it is, cannot hope to loop its sonorities around Parker's ever widening circle of compression. Likewise, on the trombone pieces, because of the physicality of the instrument, all he is able to do is create polytonal drones for Parker to circumnavigate time and again. It's only on his solo pieces that Christmann gets to show his true worth as an improviser here, one on each instrument, where he reveals the depths of his shades and tonal textures to the listener's delight. This was a mismatch to be sure, but it's not without its moments.

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