Christmas Comes Early

I know I said that the Evan Parker show would be up in a couple days, but the Christmas season has been kickin' my arse so far. In the meantime, I have been listening to loads of Free Jazz gems that I discovered on Pharaohs Dance, Reality Unit Concepts and Church Number Nine . They have live shows and out-of print records from artists such as Sun Ra, Pharaoh Sanders, Frank Foster and Milford Graves that are free to download for your listening enjoyment. Be sure to check them out as well as Destination Out, which featured a link to an article from the New York Times on the state of Jazz music in the blogosphere.

This article was inspired by a posting made by the pioneering composer and trumpeter Dave Douglas on his label's website, Greenleafmusic. Douglas was essentially challenging writers or lovers of jazz music to create an unbiased overview of jazz music from 1973-1990. Eventually, Ethan Iverson, the pianist from the Bad Plus, responded to this challenge by making a post on his blog containing a subjective five-thousand word overview of his favorite jazz records from this period. While this wasn't exactly what Douglas had in mind, it spawned a resurgence in the interest of Jazz, as several more lists appeared within the week. Message boards were flooded with Jazz aficionados quoting favorites from their lists, and so it seems that Dave Douglas and Ethan Iverson have single-handedly spearheaded a new Jazz movement. You are bound to find something on these lists that you have never discovered before in the world of jazz.

Evan Parker- Live at the 411 Club

Ladies and gentlemen can I please have your undivided attention. It is with great pleasure and enthusiasm that I present to you the only known copy of this live performance from Evan Parker at the 411 Club in Portland, OR. I know it's very rare, because I recorded it with my mini-disc player on May 13, 2003. I have been searching extensively on the web for any useful information on this performance, such as a review or set list. However, I have found not one shred of info that is pertinent to this specific performance. So, unfortunately, I don't know the names of these songs. What I do know is that the group consisted of Evan Parker on saxophones, Alexander Von Schlippenbach on piano and Paul Lytton on percussion, and that the crowd was so quiet while the group was playing that you could hear a pin drop. I believe they played a couple of Thelonious Monk covers, but other than that, it's a mystery to me. If there are any Evan Parker aficionados that know the names of these songs, please let me know.

The 411 Club was the perfect venue to experience the power and majesty of the truly awe-inspiring free jazz improvisation of the Evan Parker Trio. The venue was basically a small warehouse with worn out floors and holes in the wall, but the acoustics in there were simply astounding. The reason I say was, is because the club is no longer putting on shows. This is a sad thing since it was one of the only venues to see live jazz improvisation performances in Portland.

I'm not going to say much about the actual performance, because it is beyond words or descriptions. You just need to download the show and experience the mastery of Evan Parker's circular breathing technique which allows him to perform lengthy, spiraling saxophone solos without seemingly taking a breath. During Evan's circular breathing saxophone solo, I felt like I had never heard anything like it in my entire life. It sounded like a flurry of birds singing at different pitches, producing an unholy combination of dissonance and beauty.

Here's what Wikipedia has to say about circular breathing:

Circular breathing is a special technique utilized by players of some wind instruments used to produce a continuous tone without break, accomplished by the use of the cheeks as a reservoir of air while breathing through the nose rather than the mouth. The technique is used extensively in the playing of the Australian didgeridoo, the Sardinian launeddas and Egyptian arghul, as well as many traditional oboes and flutes of Asia and the Middle East. A few jazz and classical wind players also utilize some form of circular breathing.
Here is the show in 2 zip files with a scan of the booklet and a concert poster that I swiped off the door of the venue. You will need to download WinRar to unzip the downloaded files.

I am really interested in what you think about this one. Please leave a comment on the site!

Live at 411 Club- Portland Oregon
If you are interested in downloading this concert please follow these links:

Part 1
Part 2


centrifuge said…
Thanks for sharing this great recording!

With one obvious exception, none of these pieces will have titles - Parker's trios* usually play fully improvised music (as advertised on your flyer). Sometimes the performances are officially released and pieces are assigned titles retrospectively (eg the 50th Birthday Concert 2xCD on Leo has titles taken from the poems of Robert Graves), but generally when these concerts are broadcast (such as on BBC radio 3) nothing is listed except "improvisation 1", etc.

The obvious exception is Schlippenbach's piano solo, which is of course a medley in the course of which he briefly examines at least ten different themes. I don't recognise everything he plays, but here's what I can identify (all tunes by Monk except where stated): "Work" (first clearly stated beginning 03.22); "Locomotive" (04.29); "Off Minor" (07.46); the Eric Dolphy composition known variously as "Out There" or "Far Cry" (10.20); "Green Chimneys" (11.56); "Trinkle, Tinkle" (14.22); "Light Blue" (17.00). Like most avant-garde pianists, Schlippenbach is hugely influenced by Monk and requently revisits his material. There's a CD of his Monk covers on Enja.

Parker is known for his amazing circular breathing technique (which he taught to Anthony Braxton, according to the latter). Roscoe Mitchell does something very similar on occasion, but every live Parker concert I've heard includes at least one of these "circular solos".

* This is actually a hybrid of two long-standing trios: the "British" one with bassist Barry Guy and Paul Lytton, and the "German" one with Alex von S (who is nominally the leader of this second group) and percussionist Paul Lovens. As I understand it, this concert was part of a tour which Parker gave to celebrate his upcoming 60th birthday; he had intended to take the British trio, but when Guy had to pull out, Schlippenbach stepped in to take his place.

Hope this was helpful... thanks again for posting the music! I "followed you home" from Church Number Nine, and will be back later for a proper look around :)
King Kennytone said…
Ah yes I must add my thanks also my friend, yess yes.

Indeed I cannot add anything to Centrifuge's informative tour-de-force.

Big up yerselves, fellas.

Lovely recording, Kevin man, thanks again.
Anonymous said…
Nice one. Recording sounds good, and it's an amazing performance.

Many thanks for recording and posting this.
Kevin said…
Thanks for the comments everyone! I appreciate centrifuge's information about the particular songs that were played. I really just wanted to share this with as many people as possible. Please spread the word to anyone you know that would appreciate this. It is great to have a dialogue with people who share similar tastes in music.

I love all types of music so this site will reflect that. It will have its fair share of jazz, because I love jazz. But, it will also focus on avant garde noise, psychedelic rock, blues, ethiopiques, rare-funk, etc. I try to update a couple times a week, but because of the rush of the Christmas season I've only been able to update once a week for the past couple weeks. Please stop by again and sign up for the RSS feed if you want to know when the site has been updated. Also, if any of you would like to maintain an ongoing dilaogue, please leave me your e-mail address. Have a great Christmas holiday!

Just now getting a chance to comment. This is wonderful music - thanks for sharing this uber-rare Evan Parker music and for the insightful commentary.

BTW, if you check the Dewey Redman post at you'll find another list of 73/90 albums mostly unmentioned by others. It was an amazingly rich period and nice to see it being championed more prominently.

Keep up the good work.
Dear Kevin,
Thank you very much for this very nice and valuable recording. You are one of the contributors to the free improvisation history so far. I would like to just add a few information: Schlippenbach was highly interested in playing Monk tunes then and just after this very concert, made some recordings with Axel Dörner, Rudi Mahall, Jan Roder and Uli Jennessen in Berlin only consisting of Monk compositions. The outcome is the triple cd from Intakt : Monk's Casino. So I suppose that's why he began the performance with a medley of Monk. Please refer to : Another thing is that this trio visited USA on May 2003 and did some live performances out of which only one double cd came out, which was published on Evan Parker's own label psi. The first concert of these cds were made in New Orleans on the Mayday, whereas the second one is from your neighborhood, Seattle Asian Art Museum, just one day after you saw them. So as for entitling the pieces, you can refer to this cd: . And I did not know that's because of Evan Parker's 60th birthday, thank you to all.
Connor said…
Wow, this really sounds incredible. Could you re-up it? I love both the Parker-Guy-Lytton Trio and the Schlippenbach-Parker-Lovens Trio, so a cross between the two would be great to hear.
Kevin said…

Thanks for bringing it to my attention that people are still following these old links for the Evan Parker show. Last year I reuploaded this show under the blog entry "Eclectic Grooves Turns the Page". It was in honor of the celebration of my first year in blogging. I have posted an addendum and removed the original link on this post to alleviate any confusion. Please let me know what you think of the show.

Best, Kevin

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