Evan Parker: an improvisation


Photograph by Caroline Forbes


Though he has worked extensively in both large and small ensembles, Evan Parker is perhaps best known for his solo soprano saxophone music, a singular body of work that in recent years has centred around his continuing exploration of techniques such as circular breathing, split tonguing, overblowing, multiphonics and cross-pattern fingering. The resulting music is certainly hypnotic, an uninterrupted flow of snaky, densely-textured sound that Parker has described as "the illusion of polyphony". Parker's first solo recordings, made in 1974, were reissued on the Saxophone Solos CD in 1995; more recent examples are Conic Sections and Process and Reality, on the latter of which he does, for the first time, experiment with multi-tracking. He has worked with Kenny Wheeler, Chris McGregor, Barry Guy, Stan Tracey, Charlie Watts, Michael Nyman, Gavin Bryars, Frederic Rzewski, Cecil Taylor, Paul Bley, Anthony Braxton, Roscoe Mitchell, George Lewis, Wadada Leo Smith, Scott Walker, Robert Wyatt, Annette Peacock, David Sylvian, Jah Wobble, Spring Heel Jack and Squarepusher.


Here is an improvisation that he has recorded just for us:


Recorded by Caroline Forbes. Produced by Steve Shepherd. Video edited by Martha Shepherd.