Donald Clarke’s Music Box review by Donald Clarke

Parker / Guy / Lytton + Peter Evans – Scenes in the House of Music (CF 196)
I have also been listening to Scenes in the House of Music, by Barry Guy, on the cleenfeed label. Guy is the bassist and the leader, I guess, though these guys sound like they breath together. Evan Parker plays tenor sax, Paul Lytton is on drums, and Peter Evans plays trumpet. I have long admired them all except Evans, who I had never heard of until now, and who is amazing, every note, every snarl, ever stutter and stammer precise and precisely intended. Evan Parker is the British master of free jazz I heard in Austin once at a concert that was one of the best I’ve ever attended.
This CD is a live concert of improvised counterpoint, everybody playing at once and everybody listening to everybody else, as in the jazz of New Orleans a century ago, but for the 21st century: the music swells and roars and drops to nothing on a dime, four friends having a passionate discussion, as in string quartets since the time of Haydn. It is challenging music, but not difficult: there is no such thing as difficult music. I think it was the great conductor Hans Knappersbusch who said that “Music does not have to be understood. Music has to be listened to.” Nevertheless there are a great many people who will not, cannot listen to this kind of music, because it means so much. This is the most exciting new CD to come my way this year.

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