Evan Parker & Joe McPhee – What / If / They Both Could Fly (2013)

Evan Parker & Joe McPhee - What / If / They Both Could Fly (2013)
Artist: Evan Parker & Joe McPhee
Album: What / If / They Both Could Fly
Genre: Free Jazz, Avant-Garde
Label: Rune Grammofon
Year Of Release: 2013
Quality: FLAC (tracks)

Tracklist:
1. What
2. If
3. They Both Could Fly

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British saxophonist Evan Parker was 68 at the time of this remarkable 2012 concert at Norway’s Kongsberg jazz festival, and US pocket trumpeter and soprano saxist Joe McPhee was 73, but they generate a blistering energy and couple it with an on-the-fly lyricism that sometimes sounds intricately composed. Pitching in with low-tenor rumbles and high-brass squealing that turns almost at once to yearning, long-note curls, the first long track then becomes a classic Parker episode of solo-sax polyphony, an almost silent passage of murmurs, outbreaths and pad-flappings, then a mournfully harmonious finale. Squeezed-valve sounds and softly percussive noises open the second piece, on which McPhee yelps playfully over Parker’s restlessly turning cyclical figures; then growling, low-brass sounds underpin wriggling reed lines, Coltranesque ballad tonalities and a Don Cherryesque vivacity on the shorter third section. It’s a must for free-jazz disciples of Parker and McPhee, but the uninitiated may also find much to enjoy in this gracefully rational and divertingly varied exhibition of improv.
John Fordham

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