36th Vilnius Jazz Festival. 12-16 October, 2022

Evan Parker - Barry Guy - Paul Lytton


Evan Parker – sax
Barry Guy – db
Paul Lytton – dr

It is one of the best-known and most widely travelled free-improvising groups. They are three improvising masters who have tirelessly refined their musical language and the breadth of their dialogues over nigh on forty-five years.

Their combined efforts have the accuracy of a rapid reaction force – crossed with the fluency and spontaneity of a Brazilian football front line. The tremendous excitement that the trio can generate, based on the uncannily instantaneous ability of the players to react to one another’s gestures and all together to the situation they are playing in, creates a musical fabric which is at the same time steel solid yet pliable.

Evan Parker is among Europe’s most innovative and intriguing saxophonists. He has pioneered or substantially expanded an array of extended techniques. Parker is a pivotal figure in the development of European free jazz worshiped by several generations of saxophonists. He has formed a number of long-term associations that have continued to allow him to grow musically.

Parker and drummer Paul Lytton met in 1969. The first public performance of the duo incurred the wrath of more conservative commentators thanks to their exploration and use of what hitherto been considered “noise”. At this time, Parker was also supplementing his standard reed instruments with exotic ethnic and homemade ones.

As time passed the homemade instruments were dropped and the duo itself ceased to perform being replaced by a trio with the addition of double bassist Barry Guy. The trio has achieved particular visibility and popularity since around 1994. The trio has included guests such as Kenny Wheeler, Paul Rutherford, George Lewis and Mark Charig.

The mid-1990s have also seen the emergence of the Evan Parker Electro-Acoustic Ensemble formed by enlarging the trio with sound processing capabilities of Philipp Wachsmann, Walter Prati, Mario Vecchi and Lawrence Casserley.

Other (acoustic) trios have played on different occasions, featuring, for example, Paul Rogers (and latterly John Edwards) on bass and Mark Sanders on drums.

Born in London, double bassist and composer Barry Guy’s range of interests encompasses early music, contemporary composition, jazz and improvisation.

He came to the fore as an improvising bassist as a member of a trio with pianist Howard Riley and drummer Tony Oxley. At the time Guy also became an occasional member of John Stevens’ ensembles including the Spontaneous Music Ensemble.

In the early 1970s, he was a member of the influential free improvisation group Iskra 1903 with Derek Bailey and Paul Rutherford. Soon after the double bassist focused on Evan Parker Trio.

Maestro was briefly a member of the Michael Nyman Band, performing on the soundtrack of The Draughtsman’s Contract.

Free jazz percussionist Paul Lytton began on drums at age 16. He played jazz in London while taking lessons on the tabla. Later he began experimenting with free improvisational music, working with Evan Parker. This has lasted to this day.

In addition, Lytton was a founding member of the London Musicians Collective, aided Paul Lovens in the foundation of the Aachen Musicians’ Cooperative. Lytton has toured North America and Japan both solo and with improvisational ensembles, collaborated and toured with Ken Vandermark, Kent Kessler and Jeffrey Morgan among other jazz luminaries.  

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