The Stone; Sun 15
Thu Oct 12 2006
To say that British sax vet Evan Parker plays to the room is both accurate and a little misleading. You’d never catch the 62-year-old improviser honking out riffs simply to move a crowd, but the way his methods intensify even the smallest acoustic details can electrify any performance nook, hall or chamber.It’s telling that several of Parker’s finest solo recordings were minted in historic spaces not often associated with the jazz avant-garde—1993’s Conic Sections at Holywell Music Room in Oxford; 2001’s Lines Burnt in Light in the St. Michael and All Angels Anglican Church in London. Both rooms take full advantage of the minimalist harmonic shards created through Parker’s marathon use of the circular-breathing technique, which enables saxists to hold notes for seemingly perilous stretches.
John Zorn’s artist-curated space on Avenue C can’t compete with either of the above rooms for size or venerability, but the Stone’s marvelous acoustics are precisely what Parker needs to make this solo concert mesmerizing. His keening, jackrabbit-fast delivery on soprano sax has been his calling card of late, but much like John Coltrane—whose noted sheets of sound prefigured Parker’s—the saxist doubles on the bigger, more gregarious-sounding tenor. If tonight he chooses to accompany himself with even the simplest of electronic effects, every inch of the Stone will be bathed in aural color. — K. Leander Williams