Review: Edwards/ Parker/ Prévost Trio with Alexander von Schlippenbach at Café Oto

Edwards/Parker/Prévost Trio with Alexander von Schlippenbach at Café Oto
Drawing by Geoffrey Winston. © 2013. All Rights Reserved


Edwards/Parker/Prévost Trio with Alexander von Schlippenbach
(Day 2 of 3 day residency at Café Oto, 28 May 2013; review and drawing by Geoff Winston)


When four musicians with unbounded musical imaginations get together, there are bound to be fireworks. In the case of this tremendous quartet, with jazz at its core, they were definitely friendly fireworks.

Evan Parker and Alexander von Schlippenbach have played together for over 40 years - notably in an evergreen trio with Paul Lovens and in the pianist's Globe Unity Orchestra which Parker first joined in 1973. There was no sign of any slowing down in this creative engagement, more a sharpened clarity and commitment that reflected their inspirations and the fruits of their explorations.

Eddie Prévost has recently been flitting from highly abstract, esoteric meta-music to the demanding side of jazz. The latter was much in evidence as he ramped up the ante with shades of Elvin Jones. John Edwards, the nominal younger statesman of the group, never takes 'yes, that'll do' for an answer - he pushed and connected ultra-intuitively with the emerging rhythms and figures, and even adopted the tonal qualities of other instruments in a chameleon flux.

Von Schlippenbach, guest of the British trio for the evening, opened with an entrancing ten minute solo, in which he mined the resonances of Café Oto's new Yamaha piano, in similar spirit to Keith Tippett a few weeks earlier, the ethereal and the hyper-energetic blending across the bass and treble registers, as he built up and dissolved melodic pathways with calm, precise intent. He then cued in first Edwards through an extended tightrope of a duet, then Prévost who picked up with a spell of perpetual motion, before Parker completed the circle to deliver a resounding classic quartet performance.

Parker, in interview last year (HERE), spoke of Coltrane as "the core of the reason I play" and this came through loud and clear without any cramping of Evan's own personal language, as did another key reference - Pharaoh Sanders' solo with Mantler's JCOA - uncannily evoked when the quartet briefly blazed with the power of a dragster ahead of a notably delicate piano and brushes passage and a delightfully dextrous, lucid piano stretch which owed more to Bartok than Brubeck.

A dramatic, studied pounding of the piano's lower innards was met with a gravelly, cheese grater response from Edwards and Prévost's fluttering mallets. Monk and Ellington echoed through a magically sensitive von Schlippenbach solo break and the foursome whipped up a full sonic tornado for their rumbustuous finale.



Evan Parker: tenor saxophone
John Edwards: double bass
Eddie Prévost: drums, percussion
Alexander von Schlippenbach: piano

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