Evan Parker / John Tilbury

Two Chapters and an Epilogue

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The pairing of improv heroes pianist John Tilbury and saxophonist Evan Parker seems a bit anticlimactic in its possibility. In actuality, however, the end result is anything but. This is a pairing made in the pact of restraint, where tonal studies would be catered to, coaxed, cajoled, and in some cases even begged out of the air between the two instrumentalists. Two half-hour improvisations and one under three minutes tease out the premise that time and space, or at least our perceptions of it, can indeed be stretched, warped, and even turned inside out. The advanced sense of microtonality and elastic harmonics that Parker and Tilbury manipulate and attempt to obliterate, however subtly, is remarkable. Parker is the most surprising, responding with longer lines, rounded tones, and less angles than he usually does, and with less obvious spatial breathing techniques. His lines chop at the ends rather than knot; they force his ideas into space rather than skittering them out, before ushering in the next in his response to Tilbury. For his part, Tilbury strides the higher register in search of another couple of keys. Oddly enough, he finds them along the way, in large part because of Parker's striations. This is music for the hunt, the chase, the game of hide and seek. It is elegant, brainy, and passionate in its own egghead way. Highly recommended.

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