Set up by Chris and Dan Brubeck, Environ in New York was a loft scene performance space located not far from the great John Coltrane drummer Rashied Ali's place Ali's Alley and where Evan Parker recorded these tracks live not long, some 6 months, after the recording of his classic Monoceros during this first visit to the US in 1978.
Like Monoceros this is solo unaccompanied saxophone, mostly soprano, some tenor - Monoceros was all soprano sax. These days when we are used to loop pedals and a lot of real time generated electronics the solo-ness of a single instrument performance is quite different. These Environ évènements - each piece is an event and all pack a punch - benefit from the hard lifting and physical sensation you get from a grand method making ample use of circular breathing techniques strong enough to keep the momentum up without any technological crutches or the bathos, the roughage if you like of the boring bits, you often get elsewhere with transition aspiring electronics in the context of a broader piece. As usual with Parker's unique and highly radical sound when wave upon wave of piston-like notes form a mass via a forensically cellular granular approach minimalist, repetitive, darting, phrases swarm and eventually rip into your consciousness via a process of what some might feel is a deep primevalism, a zombie necromancy that penetrates the very synapses in our brains to commune with the spirits of the past rejoicing at such vision following detailed autopsy and suddenly made undead and mercifully free to roam once again. Certainly the effect is hypnotic. All in all a vital glimpse of one of the most influential free improv jazz musician innovator visionaries by far whose influence spanning continents by erasing genre constraints (the dismantling of structures imposed by style consensus, habit, popularity or the felt need to self-censor and/or represent some school of thought) is vast.
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