Evan Parker & Joe McPhee - What/If/They Both Could Fly
- Stewart Smith
- 14 November 2013
Gorgeous duo exchange and highly lyrical set from two major creative forces
Two masters, deep in conversation. One of the most important saxophonists of the post-Coltrane era, Evan Parker needs no introduction. American multi-instrumentalist Joe McPhee is perhaps less well known, but at 73, he remains a major creative force, working with his free jazz peers and young radicals like Chris Corsano and The Thing. Taped at the Kongsberg Jazz Festival in Norway, this is only the second time the pair have appeared on record as a duo. With Parker on tenor and McPhee on pocket trumpet and soprano saxophone, What/If/They Both Could Fly is a gorgeous duo exchange, with no showboating or competition. Parker comes out with long undulating spools of tone and fluttering birdsong while McPhee whistles and vocalises through his trumpet valve. This is a highly lyrical set, with abstract sections flowing gracefully into more melodic passages where Parker explores boppish figures while McPhee holds down long, silvery notes.