March 1998

Evan Parker/Ned Rothenberg
Monkey Puzzle
Leo Records

Evan Parker and Ned Rothenberg are very compatible, complementary duo partners on Monkey Puzzle. There is a fair amount of intriguing circular breathing-based textures spattered throughout the program, but Parker and Rothenberg also find fertile common ground in the give-and-take of motivic development, and the exploration of dynamics and timbre rooted sound events. As Rothenberg performs both on alto saxophone and bass clarinet, and Parker employs his soprano and tenor in roughly equal measures, there is more than adequate instrumental variety in the program. Most importantly, there is an overarching cohesion to this totally improvised program, a cohesion not based in easy familiarity (though it is obvious that they know each other's work well), but in their probing, flinty interplay.

Originally published in March 1998
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