Marteau Rouge & Evan Parker

Live
in situ IS 242

Devoting more than 40 years to painstaking developing an individual style doesn’t mean that British tenor saxophonist Evan Parker eschews new challenges and collaborations. Live is notable however, because without altering his distinctive reed patterns, Parker manages to seamlessly match his contributions to those of Paris-based Marteau Rouge. And that’s without upsetting the perceptive strategies members of the trio have developed during their years together.

Consisting of guitarist Jean-François Pauvros, whose chiming runs and twanging licks often cleave the line between rock and improv, and given direction by the unflappable drummer Makoto Sato, with cymbal rasps and mercurial backbeats, this trio interaction is further cemented by the quivering sine waves from Jean-Marc Foussat’s synthesizer.

Despite separately titled tracks, the CD is actually a solid, nearly 80-minute performance. Parker makes one of his strongest interventions on “Cinq” where his circular-breathed slurs and harsh multiphonics adumbrates sweeping metallic clangs from Foussat and hammering reverb from Pauvros – with the clash finally upended by soothing hand drumming from Sato,

When the synthesizer player ups the ante in the climatic “Six, au temps des cerises” by patching discursive crowd mutterings and radio static in to the mix – as Sato whams, rolls and ruffs – Parker suavely operates on top of the extended intonation. In fact, his pitch vibrations and seconding honks are enough to mute the guitarist’s amp-distorted grinds and flanges, down-shifting the piece so that connective string snaps and reed slithers are prominent.

Rather than being the proverbial fifth wheel, Parker’s circular-breathed outbursts balance the three other parts of this red hammer for smoother – and no less notable – sonic movements.

— Ken Waxman

— For MusicWorks Issue #106