Evan Parker/Eddie Prévost

Tools of Imagination
Fundacja Słuchaj FSR 05/2018

Jazz’s romantic chroniclers of often refer Miles Davis’ Duende-like cool when discussing his focused playing. But in retrospect, what else could be the epitome of cool is when two master improvisers put together without sweat or showboating nearly one hour of intense, connective Free Music.

The improvisers in question are both British-based, tenor saxophonist Evan Parker and percussionist Eddie Prévost. The saxophonist in various configuration and the drummer as part of AMM were present for the beginning of British improvised music in the mid-1960s, and have continued refining the concept over the past half century with a census roll of diverse associates as well as two previous duo discs in 1997 and 2003. This CD continues this association. So absolute is the union that the creation is matchless.

Over the single performance neither player is silent for more than few seconds, but this is barely noticed as the creation evolves. Split-tone pressure and widening cornucopia of reed timbres from Parker move along a discursive path at the beginning as irregular quivers and jagged rasps arising from a violin bow dragged across cymbal tops and against drum rims on Prévost’s part that create a droning contrapuntal motif. Before the saxophonist unleashes one of his expected displays of grandiloquent circular breathing, a sequence of hand bell shaking and sympathetic rumbles from the Gran Cassa has set up a thunderous interlude that marks both a splendid riposte to the reed multiphonics and a half way point. As the percussionist draws back to restrained drones and bell-shakes, emboldened Parker advances with staccato and heightened split tones that are spaced just so. Another downturn finds the two finding melodic inferences with which to advance the duet, reaching a crescendo of tongue slapping and abrasive rubs against unyielding surfaces that seesaw the two into a showdown as vivid as a Bop cutting contest, but with none of the rancor. As the tremolo saxophone tones narrow still further into tongue slaps and contralto slurs, Prévost’s paced buzzes and singular slaps stretch the advancing line still further until stentorian percussion patterns on cymbals and drum rims and high-than-altissimo, louder than usual freak notes turn phrases round after round, seemingly without pause to fuse, leading to pent-up tension release. ..

Another sonic treasure has been minted, yet with this performance all in a day’s work for Parker and Prévost.

—Ken Waxman

Track Listing: 1. Tools of Imagination

Personnel: Evan Parker (tenor saxophone) and Eddie Prévost (drums and percussion)