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Album Review

The Needles is everything one can hope for in an album involving Evan Parker. It culls two recordings, live and studio, on two discs clocking in at a little under an hour each. Disc one documents this trio's first meeting at the Kerava Jazz Festival (Finland) in June 2000. Violinist Philipp Wachsmann acted as the musical bridge between Parker (with whom he has now performed regularly for what seems like ages) and bassist Teppo Hauta-aho, the lesser-known player here. Hauta-aho is a key figure of Finnish free improv and has been involved in Quintet Moderne with Wachsmann, Paul Lovens, Harri Sjöström, and Jari Hongisto. The live disc consists of three pieces of 14 to 20 minutes in duration. "Swans Apiece" is a stunning three-way waltz without a meter. Violin and bass are finely attuned, making arabesques around the tenor saxophone. In "A Punky and a Song," Parker plays a beautiful slow section without resorting to circular breathing. The contrast created by the long, detached lines has the impact of a bop solo in the middle of a punk rock anthem (a good thing, really). Disc two was recorded in the studio almost a year later. Two improvs of 24 and 19 minutes are sandwiched between short solos. The music is slightly different, more condensed, with the violinist in great shape, and hits its peak in the fiery "Devil's Punchbowl." The quality of listening among the players and the intensity of playing are through the roof on both discs, making this album highly recommendable to serious listeners. ~ François Couture, Rovi

Biography

Born: 05 April 1944 in Bristol, England

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Among Europe's most innovative and intriguing saxophonists, Evan Parker's solos and playing style are distinguished by his creative use of circular breathing and false fingering. Parker can generate furious bursts, screeches, bleats, honks, and spiraling lines and phrases, and his solo sax work isn't for the squeamish. He's one of the few players not only willing but eager to demonstrate his affinity for late-period John Coltrane. Parker worked with a Coltrane-influenced quartet in Birmingham in...
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