May 6, 2012
Evan Parker/Okkyung Lee/Peter Evans
The Bleeding Edge
By Ken Waxman
Maintaining his connection with younger international improvisers, grizzled British saxophonist Evan Parker has convened this trio with Koran-American cellist Okkyung Lee and American trumpeter Peter Evans. A CD of 11 duos and trios, The Bleeding Edge confirms that there’s no generation gap among creative stylists; in fact there are episodes during which it’s impossible to source a particular texture.
Best-known as a member of the satiric freebop band, Mostly Other People Do the Killing, Evans shows off experimental and atonal chops here, fluttering, spluttering and spitting tremolo and rubato sequences as well as unaccented air from his trumpet and piccolo trumpet. Lee, whose juddering percussive glissandi unite noise, improvisation and classical techniques; and who is as apt to be playing with vocalist/guitarist Carla Bozulich as pianist Jacques Demierre, keeps the action streaming with staccato, sul ponticello and spiccato motions. Parker, of course, has been a sound explorer since the mid-‘60s.
His experience and ability coupled with the others’ skills means that mellow variants are present along with more stark material. “Trio 3” for instance, is all about Evans’ high-pitched tremolo peeps meeting staccato chirps from the top range of Parker’s horn, both balanced on wide col legno cello lines. Yet “Trio 4” is as close to pleasingly lyrical as unmetered sounds can be. This blend of unforced soprano saxophone trills plus moderated grace notes from Evans creates a sort of muted sweetness connected by the cellist`s string harmonization. Despite the sound melding each tone is outlined enough to be audible, while the piece concludes with brassy fanfares from the trumpeter and multiphonic blows from Parker.
Two-person interaction such as “Duo 1” and “Duo 4” expose similar strategies, but downsized. On the latter for instance, Lee’s spiccato stops and sharply angled lines push Evans from plunger resonation to gentling mouthpiece flutters. Similarly “Duo 1” mates Parker’s slurs and swoops with the cellist’s penetrating string stretches until together they build up to chromatic, harmonized cross tones.
With each sequence blended into a sound mosaic, the edges here may be bleeding, but with minimum bloodiness and maximum improvisational circulation.
Tracks: Trio 1; Trio 2; Duo 1; Trio 3; Duo 2; Trio 4; Duo 3; Duo 4; Duo 5; Trio 5; Trio 6
Personnel: Peter Evans (trumpet and piccolo trumpet); Evan Parker (soprano and tenor saxophones) and Okkyung Lee (cello)
—For New York City Jazz Record May 2012