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Evan Parker (live at The Vortex)

The Vortex, London 20 October 2011

Sorry we’re a little late in starting, we were meant to start at nine. I looked at my watch and it said ten to nine, then suddenly it said quarter past. That’s what happens when you stand at the bar talking shit.

Evan Parker takes to the stage at The Vortex with this typically low-key opening gambit, a self-effacing remark which serves to both put the audience at its ease, and set the backdrop for the evening’s free improvisation. If the man that John Zorn described as “single-handedly [changing] the face of saxophone technique and saxophone music” wants to talk shit at the bar, then it perhaps behoves the rest of us to listen.

Tonight’s gig is another instalment of Parker’s monthly free improv residency at the venerable London institution, and here he’s in the company

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Eyeless in Gaza (live at The Vortex)

The Vortex, London 3 December 2010

It’s thirty years now since Eyeless in Gaza released their debut single, “Kodak Ghosts Run Amok” (1980), and in all that time there’s never been a moment when they could be made to fit in with whatever else was happening around them. In the early days they were seen perhaps as part of DIY post-punk; once signed to Cherry Red they were treated as yet another of that label’s line in wistful, weedy acoustic singer-songwriter combos; more recently The Wire has tried to palm them off merely as presursors of the tedious Wyrd Folk trend/marketing opportunity.

Eyeless in Gaza at The Vortex

Their gig at London’s Vortex brought all of this to mind and gave me a chance to think about how they fit into my own private scheme of things. I’ve been listening to Eyeless in

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The Black Twig Pickers (live at The Vortex)

The Vortex Jazz Bar, London 27 September 2010

(The Black Twig Pickers live at The Votex September 2010)My view of this evening is tainted in about 200 different ways and as I haven’t drafted this review I don’t know what you’ll make of it but hang on a minute. I have to explain that when I was younger and more energetic and had more brain power with which to be creative I did used to review music; but after awhile I became bored of my own observations and felt I was often saying the same thing in an emotional way and not really reaching any points of information for the target audiences desiring the over analysis of technical something or anothers. To me writing reviews is work.

This gig is being held in

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