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Evan Parker - Chicago Solo

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Artist: Evan Parker

Album: Chicago Solo

Label: Okkadisk

Review date: Mar. 31, 2002


Chicagoís got a long and unassailable tradition as a tenor town, and there are plenty of jazz scholars who could map it out for you. But instead of tracing history, Iíll just consider the thought that itís poetic for Englishman Evan Parker, one of the very few post-Coltrane saxophonists who deserves to be honored as a titan, to come to Chicago to make his first album of tenor saxophone solos.

Chicago Solo stands out in Parkerís mammoth discography; he had made eight solo records before it and another since, but on all of them heís played soprano. They tend to be devoted to fluid sound-streams sustained for up to 27 minutes by a preternatural mastery of circular breathing techniques and an astounding mind for flawless musical organization. By contrast, Chicago Solo is composed of pithier improvisations that range from under two to a little over eight minutes long.

Some recall Parkerís soprano methodology in their use of dense fixed note patterns as launching pads for elaborately contoured excursions. Others, like the disc-opening ďChicago Solo [12],Ē are more recognizably jazz-like in their use of melodic statement and theme-based structure. Throughout Parkerís tone is rough and textured, as beautiful as a rock heavily veined with gold.

By Bill Meyer

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