Monday, October 18, 2010

Steve Lacy and Evan Parker - Chirps (FMP, 1991, 2010)

Records and compact discs (or downloads for that matter) by the German FMP label have been somewhat scarce (in the USA at least) so Destination Out's agreement with the label to set up a downloading storefront is a big break for fans of progressive jazz. This album features a live meeting between soprano saxophone masters Steve Lacy and Evan Parker, in an unaccompanied duet that is complex and abstract, but continually exciting and accessible. The title of the album references bird calls, and the music follows suit with both men focusing on short bursts of notes and passages that flitter and fly through the music giving the music a light and nimble feeling. The album opens with two very lengthy performances, "Full Scale" and "Relations" that allow both men to stretch their ideas out at length, feeling each other out and then offering up complementary ideas that turn these improvisations into hypnotically beautiful performances. The rest of the album is made up of shorter more compact pieces. "Twittering" was made long before micro-blogging service of the same name cam into being, but the idea is quite the same as Lacy and Parker trade short musical messages that build in free space. "Nocturnal Chirps" is a three part series of brief improvised pieces that meld the two musicians visions together like a strand of DNA that has the imprint of modern jazz woven through it. Fans of openly improvised music and free jazz will really enjoy this album, there was no show-boating or egos at play, just a meeting of the minds that created a very successful album. Chirps - Destination Out

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