Friday, 21 October 2011

evan parker john edwards tony marsh @ the vortex 10/20/2011

words + photos: gian paolo galasi

Skimming through bookstores during my free time can culminate in picking up an old copy of Roland Barthes' Image Music Text. In Musica Practica, a short essay included in the book and dedicated to the music of Beethoven, Barthes took his good care in order to describe the inaudible in the composer's music - 'something for which hearing is not the exact locality' - and defines as musica practica something as an approach to music and its codes that consists 'not in receiving, in knowing or in feeling that text, but in writing it anew, in crossing its writing with a fresh inscription, so too reading [...] is to operate music, to draw it (it is willing to be drawn) into an unknown praxis. [...] What is the use of composing [...]? To compose, at least by propensity, is to give to do, not to give to hear but to give to write'.

Since one of the last Parker's solo efforts on records, the 2010 Psi release 'Whitstable Solo' features a poem written by Harry Gilonis especially for that record and contains an open reference to Roland Barthes concept of jouissance - usually translated in English with 'bliss', related to the effort of listener to re-enact the different codes of a text reinforcing one another - it can seem suitable reasoning in those terms about the old diatribe 'improvisation vs composition', and the stress improvisers like Derek Bailey or Cecil Taylor put on the blurring of the boundaries between the twos.

Tonight Evan Parker plays with John Edwards - a mainstay of the London scene, that started playing the bass in the '80s in context related to both music and dance - and Tony Marsh on drums. A long, dense concert, full of jouissance so, and, for the first time since I'm here, full of references to the blues. Thelonious Monk openly - well, not the first time so far, but also some nods to John Coltrane and - far from pure saxophone references - a feeling reminiscent of Sonny Rollins. Something in the air, not necessarily related to the interplay. The warmth, the feeling.

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