Label: Matchless Recordings
"Free-improv CDs sometimes turn up in the record-business equivalent of fish-and-chip paper, but this handsome book-form package encloses three audio CDs, a DVD, a raft of colour photography, and a thoughtful essay from Richard Williams. It documents a 2013 Cafe Oto season for the UK trio of drummer Eddie Prévost, bassist John Edwards and saxophonist Evan Parker, plus German musicians Christof Thewes (trombone) and the doyen of European free-jazz pianists, Alex von Schlippenbach – the British contingent return to launch it at the Oto on 28 July. Parker’s tenor hurtles, jostles and murmurs through Edwards’ dramatic soundscape and Prévost’s often balletically free-swinging one on the first disc; Schlippenbach is often intimately bonded with Parker but also deviously immersed in Monk and Ellington on the second; and Thewes’s long-tone purrs, supple runs and talkative, multiphonic sounds bring fresh tonalities and new conversational challenges to the third. It’s a free-improv fan’s treat, but the clarity of its jazz roots might surprise many more traditional listeners too.