Evan Parker and Behaviour Ensemble

Friday 22nd June | 8.30pm-9.30pm | Terrace Café, Plymouth Hoe

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As the sun sets, Plymouth harbour becomes the backdrop for this festival launch fanfare. Legendary saxophonist Evan Parker plays with Behaviour, a large group of performers playing bizarre electronic instruments, in what promises to be an unmissable sonic adventure.

Evan Parker (b.1944) has played with some of the most influential experimental groups and artists to in improvised music over the last 50 years. In 1966 he began playing with the Spontaneous Music Ensemble (SME) who included in their line up John Stephens, Kenny Wheeler, Paul Rutherford and Derek Bailey. After leaving the SME he continued to work with both Stephens and Bailey in duo formation and began performing with the Music Improvisation Company with Bailey, Hugh Davies, Jamie Muir and Christine Jeffrey and in various of Tony Oxley’s groups. Around this time he was a member of the Peter Brötzmann Octet and appears on that group’s legendary Machine Gun album. Parker formed the influential Incus records label with Oxley and Bailey in 1970.

During the early 80s The Evan Parker Trio was formed and achieved particular visibility and popularity among followers of improvised music. Evan Parker has been a consistent member of the saxophone section of three of the major large-scale groups in improvised music: Globe Unity Orchestra, London Jazz Composers Orchestra and the Berlin Contemporary Jazz Orchestra. He has also continued for over 25 years his association with the 'Blue Note' musicians who left South Africa to escape apartheid and settle in London in the late 1960s. Since the mid 90s he has been increasingly involved in projects involving electronics, particularly with the Evan Parker Electro-Acoustic Ensemble, a group enlarged by the sound-processing capabilities of Philipp Wachsmann, Walter Prati and Mario Vecchi.

In spite of all this activity, it is as the creator of a new solo saxophone language, extending the techniques and experiments started by John Coltrane and Albert Ayler, but taking them away from the rhythmically jazz-related areas and into the realm of abstraction, that Evan Parker is perhaps most recognised. In particular, his use of circular breathing techniques to create extended, complex, overlapping, repetitive and beautiful soundscapes is generally seen as the apex of saxophone virtuosity.

Behaviour is an ensemble from Bath Spa University, devised and directed by Andy Keep. Their detailed sound palette is created from a fusion of sources - real-time laptop software environments, analogue sound processors, hand-made and circuit bent electronic instruments, adapted turntables and delicate manipulations of microscopic sound worlds using contact microphones and coil pick-ups.Behaviour combine interpretations of classic‚ large ensemble improvisation works and truly original strategy driven compositions that respond to their rich and diverse orchestration.


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