Evan Parker: Concert/LP Launch with Gordon Grdina & Kenton Loewen

@ 8:00pm

Door: $15 General / $10 Students & WF Members 

LPs are available for sale now in person at the Western Front and online.

Read Alexander Varty’s essay One Thing Follows Another, also included with this LP.

Western Front New Music is proud to announce Evan Parker’s return to the Western Front to celebrate our 40th anniversary with a live performance and the release of Vaincu.Va! Live at the Western Front 1978.

Restored and mastered from the original archived quarter-inch tape that captured his dynamic, innovative performance 34 years ago, Parker’s Vaincu.Va! remains well ahead of its time. His work is unconventional and unpredictable, and this album, to be issued on limited-edition LP, with new cover art created by Front co-founder Eric Metcalfe, is no exception.

In his live solo performance, Parker will harken back to the musical ideas behind this ground-breaking performance and recording. He will then be joined by Gordon Grdina on guitar/oud and Kenton Loewen on percussion, for an evening of vivid improvised music, a spontaneous and mesmerizing journey through sound and time.


Putting saxophonist Evan Parker into historical context is easy: just consider the other musicians who joined him on the Spontaneous Music Ensemble’s Karyobin, his first appearance on vinyl. That 1968 release also featured Kenny Wheeler on trumpet, Derek Bailey on guitar, Dave Holland on upright bass, and of course bandleader John Stevens on drums: five musicians who were already redefining their instruments, none more comprehensively than Parker himself.

Born in Bristol in 1944, Parker was shaped early on by the contrasting influences of Paul Desmond and John Coltrane—but hearing Cecil Taylor and his trio during a 1962 trip to New York City was arguably the starting point of a more singular musical adventure. Creating music that embodied the spontaneous impulses of jazz but that was liberated from obvious syncopation became his aim, one he pursued in a variety of collaborative ventures, including long-term partnerships with Bailey, German pianist Alexander von Schlippenbach, British percussionist Paul Lytton, and, more recently, the young American trumpeter Peter Evans.

Parker has also explored electronic music, and has operated a pair of influential record labels— Incus, with Bailey, and his own psi. But it is as a solo saxophonist that he’s made his most radical and influential contributions. Working with extended techniques that include circular breathing, split tonguing, overblowing, and multiphonics, he produces long-form improvisations that are so intricate they sound more like collective improvisation than the product of a single musician. Parallels can be made between his work and various strains of pattern music, but Parker’s approach is intuitive rather than deeply structured; each performance is a taxing and trance-inducing flight into the unknown.

Grdina is a Vancouver based oud/guitarist who leads the local quartet East Van Strings, genre-bending ensemble Box Cutter, Arabic/Indian ensemble Sangha, Iraqi-influenced improvisational group Haram, the Gordon Grdina Trio and the groove trio Loose Acoustic. In addition, he also plays with Dan Mangan, and in Kenton Loewen’s group The Crackling.

Loewen is best known as a jazz drummer who has toured with the likes of Dan Mangan, Mother Mother and the Gordon Grdina Trio. His solo project, The Crackling, is Loewen’s first work as composer and singer, with the acclaimed album Keep Full Ambitious released in 2011.

Cover artist Eric Metcalfe was born in Vancouver and attended the University of Victoria. In the early 70′s he co-founded The Western Front Society. Metcalfe is a life-long jazz fan, and that music, with its improvisational investigations, has always acted as his muse. In 2010, he collaborated with George E. Lewis on the installation Ikons, commissioned as part of the Cultural Olympiad for Vancouver’s 2010 Winter Olympics/Paralympics.

On the occasion of the Front’s 40th anniversary, the release of Vaincu.Va! is part of an ongoing archival project that highlights visits from influential artists like Parker, whose unmistakable sound and ideas have left an indelible mark on our creative music scene. Vaincu.Va! was recorded at the Front’s Grand Luxe Hall, in the final concert of Parker’s epic 29-date (in 31 days) tour of North America in 1978.

This concert was originally presented by the Western Front with sponsorship from Vancouver New Music. This archival recording project was made possible in part through financial support by the ArtsFACT Foundation, from radio stations 103.5 QM/FM, The Beat 94.5, and TEAM Radio.