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Evan Parker

18 February 2024
Fourth Portal was proud to host a sell-out full-house for saxophonist Evan Parker, a substantial figure in European free jazz and free improvisation. The Sunday matinee format proved popular with a last-minute rush and the need to turn away walk-ups without a ticket.

Innovation is not exclusive to engineering or changing social or work spheres; it comes in many forms, including innovation in how to play an instrument.   The Fourth Portal Lab was proud to welcome another British music legend, saxophonist Evan Parker and his challenging free-form jazz.  

Gravesend audiences have few opportunities to witness live jazz in any form within the town, and jazz improvisation even less so. The reaction from those attending was remarkable, with a post-gig buzz filling the former seafarers' church of St. Andrew's, home to the Fourth Portal Lab.    

Audience reviews

"Few musicians have influenced solo improvisation as Evan Parker has, from the adaptation of circular breathing to the vast exploration of his instruments’ potential for harmonics, quarter tones and apparent polyphony."  (Stu Broomer, The Free Jazz Collective)


British tenor and soprano saxophone player Evan Parker has been a consistently innovative presence in British free music since the 1960s.

Though he has worked extensively in both large and small ensembles, Parker is perhaps best known for his solo soprano saxophone music, a singular body of work that in recent years has centred around his continuing exploration of techniques such as circular breathing, double tonguing, multiphonics and cross-fingering. These are technical devices, yet Parker's use of them is, he says, less analytical than intuitive; he has likened performing his solo work to entering a kind of trance state. The resulting music is certainly hypnotic, an uninterrupted flow of snaky, densely textured sound that Parker has described as "the illusion of polyphony". Many listeners have indeed found it hard to credit that one man can create such intricate, complex music in real time. (Cafe OTO).

Parker has recorded a large number of albums both solo or as a group leader and has recorded or performed with Peter BrötzmannMichael NymanJohn StevensDerek BaileyKeith RoweJoe McPheeAnthony BraxtonCecil TaylorJohn ZornFred Frith,  Ikue MoriThurston Moore,  Milford GravesGeorge E. LewisTim BerneMark DresserDave HollandSylvie Courvoisier, and many others.

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