Evan Parker & Ned Rothenberg | Chicago Cultural Center, Claudia Cassidy Theater | Jazz | Chicago Reader

Evan Parker & Ned Rothenberg Recommended Free All Ages Soundboard Critics' Picks

When: Sun., Sept. 27, 3 p.m. 2009

American reedist Ned Rothenberg was once clearly an acolyte of brilliant British improviser Evan Parker, but during the past decade or so he’s grown into a colleague on equal footing. Though Rothenberg has drawn heavily upon Parker’s distinctive vocabulary of extended techniques—especially circular breathing and polyphonics, both of which inform Parker’s penchant for incredibly long unbroken strings of rapidly repeated, incrementally changing figures—he’s also pursued his own interests, from Inuit music to mathematical funk. In their ongoing duo project, here making its third local appearance since 2000, they don’t mimic each other, but they inhabit a shared sensibility and improvise with a nearly supernatural level of empathy: on the superb 2006 recording Live at Roulette (Animul) their snaking phrases sometimes shadow each other precisely for several seconds at a time and sometimes form inverse complements, as though Parker and Rothenberg were chasing each other around and around a Möbius strip. With few exceptions the music is characterized by fluid, unbroken simultaneous lines—arcing, scintillating, slaloming, looping, shuddering—and even when one player drops out briefly its continuity never suffers. —Peter Margasak

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