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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Don Mather, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby


John STEVENS & Evan PARKER

Corner to Corner + The Longest Night

Ogun Records OGCD 022/023

 

 

John Stevens: drums, percussion & cornet

Evan Parker: soprano saxophone

Disc One

The Longest Night

1.19.11[9:55], 2.19.44 [12:44], 3.20.23 [21:21], 4. 21.25 [5:40], 5. 21.47 [5:11], 6. 22.18 [6:23], 7. 23.12 [11:52]

Disc Two

Corner to Corner

1.23.40 [10:08], 2.Corner to Corner [14:57], 3.Rubber [9:22], 4.Angles [10:16], 5.Incidence [3:47], 6.Reflections (for Geoff Rigden) [4:34], 7.Acute [5:21], 8.Each/Other [12:06].

Recorded on the longest night of 1976 at Riverside Studios, London W4, UK (The Longest Night) and 8 June 1993 at Angel studio, Islington, London, UK (Corner to Corner). Total Time:[73:29]

 

On the sleeve note for the original LP of The Longest Night the late John Stevens said "Evan and I are two of the most skilled interpreters….of this highly specialised form of improvisation of which this is an excellent example". No one could accuse him of false modesty then! No doubt what he said was perfectly true but the question is: is it worth doing? There are clearly a sizeable minority who think it is but I’m not one of them. I knew the reputation of Evan Parker and looked forward to reviewing the discs but when I first heard them I couldn’t find the stamina to listen to all of the tracks (over 2 hours 20 mins) but in the interest of MusicWeb visitors I can tell you I have put myself through what I can only describe as aural purgatory! I’m all for experimentation for without it everything – whether it be art, engineering, science, literature or music simply stands still and there can be no progress. However, over two hours of squeaking, screeching, whistling, droning and burbling on Evan Parker’s part and scraping, tapping and bashing on John Stevens’ proved too much for my sensitivities. It is without a doubt the most unmusical experience I have ever endured though I’m sure the musicians would have been in good company with the likes of Conlon Nancarrow and John Cage and others who found favour with certain sections of the musical hierarchy in the 1960s when tunes were a dirty word and good composers like Berthold Goldschmidt and George Lloyd were given the cold shoulder, Lloyd having to resort to mushroom cultivation to make ends meet. I’d be interested to read any counter argument but meanwhile I think I’ve made my point.

Steve Arloff



 

 

 

 



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