May 31, 2007
Evan Parker/Barry Guy/Paul Lytton
One live improvisation of over an hour that zips by with the velocity of a three-minute single, Zafiro confirms that one of improvising musics most enduring partnerships 25 years and counting is still a potent and electrifying force
Refining their interaction every time they play together saxophonist Evan Parker, bassist Barry Guy and percussionist Paul Lytton dont lack for other gigs, but express instinctive rapport here. Veteran British improvisers, the three use a variety of advanced techniques, keeping things interesting by varying trio counterpoint with duos and solos.
Hitting the ground running, the trio is at the top of its form as soon as the first note sounds. Precisely triggered dynamism is quickly indicated with stuttering honks and elongated split tones from Parker, ratamacues and minute cymbal snaps from Lytton and rasgueado strums and spiccato patterning from Guy.
Characteristically, each solo delineates what each improviser does best. Yet the singular lines are never solipsistic, since each involves contrapuntal timbres layered on top of one other. Producing almost non-stop, circular-breathed reed-biting and key pops for instance, the saxophonist doesnt operate in a vacuum, since his line is influenced by the bassists rapid-fire sul tasto strokes and reverberations. Similarly, the percussion showcase, which encompasses chains rattling on top of snares, discreet pressure on the cymbals and resonating taps of miniature bells, is polyrythmically complemented by Guys triple-stopping tremolo and shuffle bowing variations.
By the finale that prompts the Barcelona audience to demand an encore altered texture are so intertwined, that at points, Guys ratcheting stops, Parkers sibilant overblowing and Lyttons sandpaper-like brush work are virtually indistinguishable.
CODA Issue 333