Two years ago, I had the terrifying and exhilarating experience of recording two CDs with tenor and soprano saxophonist Evan Parker, one a duet album, the other a trio.
No saxophonist since the late John Coltrane has built as significant or personalized a vocabulary as Evan. He may, in fact, be the first saxophonist who can be said to be genuinely “post-Coltrane” in the sense of extending the language of the saxophone. But perhaps the most astounding thing about Parker, however, is that in spite of the deeply personal nature of his innovations (which include a comprehensive system of multiphonics, circular breathing and an intervallic structure all his own) he is the most adaptable of musicians in a group setting.
In Real Time is genuine trio music. All three players listen deeply in order to construct a fully interactive, flawlessly integrated series of pieces that hold the listener's attention throughout the album. It is music that balances profound intellect with great emotional content.
Alvin Curran alternates between playing piano, synthesizer and trumpet. His aim is to create a sonic wash, mixing any of these three instruments as needed, around which Parker and drummer Centazzo (who also adds regular and synthesized percussion) can range freely.
This type of freedom is not reckless or undisciplined. For all three men, In Real Time is the product of vast technique combined with decades of experience playing in the company of the leading proponents of free improvisation.
In Real Time is a masterpiece. It deserves a featured place in the listening library of anyone interested in the state of contemporary group improvisation.