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Evan Parker/Barry Guy/Paul Lytton: Music for David Mossman: Live at Vortex London (Intakt)

Review of album by trio recorded live at London club

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Cover of Evan Parker/Barry Guy/Paul Lytton album Music for David Mossman: Live at Vortex London
Cover of Evan Parker/Barry Guy/Paul Lytton album Music for David Mossman: Live at Vortex London

Who is David Mossman? He is the founder of the Vortex – a jazz club that has been at the center of London’s free improvised music scene for 30 years. Tenor saxophonist Evan Parker, bassist Barry Guy and drummer Paul Lytton have been playing as a trio since 1980, often at the Vortex, where they made this live recording. Their ensemble identity is firmly established. They trust their collective creative process for raising hell.

There are four tracks, “Music for David Mossman I-IV,” ranging in length from 12 to 24 minutes. Guy and Lytton are the furthest thing from a rhythm section. They seethe and clatter, obeying mysterious impulses. Their energy sweeps, soars, falls away and erupts again. Parker sometimes circles quietly, glancing off possible songs, awaiting the moment. The moment always arrives and the floodgates open and Parker unleashes ideas, torrentially. All the wild action is internal. As an entity, this ensemble moves through musical space slowly, like a storm.

The excitement comes from the spikes and crescendos, but even more from the overwhelming extravagance of detail. You can drown in the seas of this trio. And Parker’s obsessive outpourings sometimes find patterns of arcane melody beyond the reach of conventional improvisational procedures.

The excitement intermittently diminishes because so much happens at the same (intense) level, and dynamic contrast is limited. When Parker uses circular breathing and creates layers of fluttering harmonics (as on the end of “I” and the start of “II”), the effect is dizzying, yet it risks stasis when it persists. But this music can create breakthroughs of perception, like a Jackson Pollock painting. The revelation of Pollock is the liberation from representation and the celebration of the act of painting itself. Parker, Guy and Lytton celebrate the act of making music itself. They celebrate sound itself. Noise and melody are not as different as we thought.

Preview, buy or download songs from the album Music for David Mossman: Live at Vortex London by Evan Parker/Barry Guy/Paul Lytton on iTunes.



Originally Published