sparks |cs119








































From the very first moments of the opening "Xangu" you'll be tempted to delete the adjective "discreet" from this duo's intercommunicative dictionary. The vicious manner in which Evans and Blancarte hurl hooks at each other, reciprocally clinching in a timbral slugfest of epic proportions, is enough to leave you with bruised ears, if not knocked out cold. You can really appreciate what years of serious practice on an instrument bring in terms of strong tone, structural capriciousness and sheer paroxysm. No afterthoughts, no preambles, no reassuring familiarity with anything; this is like taking an ice-cold shower after lengthy exposure to hot sun. Excruciatingly revitalizing, one might say. The persistent tortuousness characterizing the flare-ups Evans elicits from his piccolo trumpet makes us forget altogether the silver-spoon inevitability that considers instrumental transgression as a symbol of original sin (burning hell and brain power are linked in some way, but not everybody's ready to admit it). Blancarte, whose stunning bass I'm discovering here for the first time, is completely involved with and excited by this tête-à-tête, and the blend of his magnificent snarl and his playing partner's squealing cries is a real treat, not to mention an authoritative assault the upper partials, which in certain sections of "Ukonvasara" and "Ishkur" is utterly amazing. Never was a record title more pertinent. Massimo Ricci (Paris Transatlantic)

Peter Evans is something of a trumpet wunderkind. His first solo CD was released on Evan Parker's PSI label. He has played with Peter Broetzman, Han Bennink and John Zorn, and is a member of the brilliant, deconstructivist hard-bop band Mostly Other People Do the Killing. He seems to have internalized the various languages of the trumpet's last half century - from extended and minimalist improvisation to purer jazz forms - and is able to recall them with an ease that saves him from sounding merely referential.
His duo with double bassist Tom Blancarte (who cites as influences Black Sabbath and Metallica, Albert Ayler and Anthony Braxton) falls in the tradition of European free improvisation, which is to say no sounds are forbidden and no genre rules applied. (That process being a genre in itself is another matter.) The seven tracks on [sparks] fly in fast circles, jumping registers as quickly as they abandon linearity. What makes this disc stand out - apart from the technique displayed - is how closely the two very different instruments (piccolo trumpet and upright bass) move together. Blancarte seems poised to fly up the neck at any moment to reinforce a clipped statement by Evans, then to drop back down to where he was. Evans is ready not to mimic but to complement as soon as Blancarte grabs his bow. Extended improvisation, at its best, involves elements of surprise and illusion. Evans and Blancarte use just the right sleight of hand. Kurt Gottschalk
(The Squid's Ear)

Holy shit “hardcore lives” used to sing Freddy from Madball…and this duo hailing from New York city resume the same concept in the opening track and if you can’t trust my word than you will be convinced by the piccolo trumpet of Peter Evans and by the “chainsaw-like” bowing of Blancarte. Be it the recording or the emphasis with which they’re playing ( like if they’ve been in the middle of a brawl) but you can’t even compare this way of performing with the average “hey I’m a dynamical improviser” way of playing. I think the difference sometimes is still in the purity of the spirits and even when the duo is calming down the atmosphere you perceive there’s a subtle tension, I think when Sparks play less neurotic parts really bring to mind a nervous boxer on the edge to explode. Some may define it Brotzmaneque music (he’s played with them so find your easy conclusions…) and maybe that’s partially true, but the combination is great: Evans sometimes makes me think he’s possessed by some voodoo demon and Blancarte is a good shaman for he drives the ceremony right where possession over the redline. I think the world is still full of good musicians and decent improvisers but even playing something that we can also label as “standard improvising” this duo is able to fly ten feet higher than the ninety percent line-ups playing this style and the funny thing is that they’re doing it without even using a drum kit that could be one of the easiest solution for a project like that in order to have those beloved loud explosions. I’ve read they’ve also been teaming up with Bennink which makes me wonder how could it sound like with him banging the drum but from this recording you don’t think they need any additional player believe me. Loud music for loud people or I’d better speak about intensity?, infact I’m sure they can be much more softer, but it’s New York city speaking: Cro Mags, Suicide, Cop Shoot Cop, Taxi Driver…am I allowed to expect something like that?. “Free jazz in your face”. Andrea Ferraris (Chain DLK)

[...] More germane to today's post is [Sparks] (Creative Sources), his recent duet with bassist Tom Blancarte (who also plays on Evans's terrific quartet album for the Firehouse 12 label). The improvised music here, with Evans exclusively on piccolo trumpet, is aggressively abrasive and discordant, delivered with unrelenting intensity--Evans never seems to feel the muscle fatigue that eventually affects most trumpeters' embouchures. One criticism of Evans that I think actually sticks is that he tends to cram a surfeit of ideas and tricks into every bit of music he plays, and he's certainly guilty of that here; in fact, it's sorta difficult to make it through the whole hour of [Sparks] in just one setting. But to me, that's not necessarily a bad thing--there's nothing wrong with a recording that demands time and concentration from the listener. Peter Margasak (The Chicago Reader)

[...] A similar abstract approach is taken on Sparks, a series of improvisations between Evans and bassist Tom Blancarte, who plays in his quartet and with whom he has an obvious rapport. Blancarte matches Evans' swirling lines with deft bowing to blend with and contrast the brass on the opener "Xangu," particularly a segment of overblown multiphonic squawks. Seemingly inexhaustible, their non- idiomatic ideas rapidly flow without establishing recognizable forms or grooves, an amorphousness that challenges player and listener alike.
The full-throttle improvisations captured on these recordings illustrate the breadth of Evans' imagination and array of sounds: trilling whistles, overblown bleats, breathy drones and the occasional clean note for stark contrast. Sean Patrick Fitzell (All About Jazz)

One of a crop of younger players who are slowly redefining the trumpet’s role and range, New York-based Peter Evans stands out. Classically trained, his use of the piccolo trumpet as well as the regular model allows him to access the minimalist aspects of other experimentalists without neglecting the literal brassy qualities which have been the trumpet’s raison d’être since the days of John Philip Sousa and Louis Armstrong.
[…] At the same time Evans, who also works in contemporary and Baroque so-called classical settings, somehow manages in his playing to extract from his horn textures that ordinarily would be linked to the saxophone. It may be bravura, but the timbres also reflect upon the dual history of those instruments and the saxophone’s birth as part of brass marching bands.
[…] Meanwhile, the other half of the [sparks] duo is another New Yorker, bassist Tom Blancarte. A fully committed improviser, his initial influences were Metallica [!] and Black Sabbath [!!].
[…] Recorded two years earlier, the duo with Blancarte is a different matter. The seven improvisations with Gnostic titles similarly bewildering as those on the other CD seem to be more of a meeting of equals. Suggesting that a youth digging Geddy Lee and John Paul Jones may not be completely misspent, the bassist produces powerful tones in a variety of times and tempos. Blancarte’s broken octave stops not only pump up rhythmic responses, but also include enough shuffle bowing and sul ponticello movements to demonstrate that Evans’ output doesn’t overawe him. Abrasively rubbing the bull fiddle’s thick strings if faced with Evans’ multiphonic brays, the bassist’s game plan seems invariably to respond chromatically so the tunes’ basic movement remains evident.
Concentrating on the piccolo trumpet, Evans’ solos are hocketing, rubato and studded with grace notes. Additionally, they’re equally spectacular whether muted to growled interface; slurred saxophone-like from within the capillary cavity; studded with tongue slaps that sound like pistol shots; or include so many tones and timbres that he appears able to sound a cavalry charge and “reveille” simultaneously.
Notable exhibition of the trumpeter’s art, this CD add to Evans’ growing discography, while recent reports indicate that more extravagant brass feats are in the offing. Ken Waxman (JazzWord)

Lors de la première tournée de Peter Evans en Europe en 2007, avant qu’il ne devienne un artiste assez demandé de New York à Berlin, il jouait en duo avec l’excellent contrebassiste Tom Blancarte. J’avais moi-même organisé un concert de ce duo, Sparks, à Bruxelles. A l’époque, ils se produisaient encore dans des appartements ou des bars à New York. Dans cet album enregistré durant l’été 2006, Peter joue de la trompette piccolo et Tom, une véritable contrebasse. En effet, le petit instrument que Tom transportait dans cette tournée mémorable avait un manche amovible attaché au corps avec une charnière. Cet album reste pour moi un des deux ou trois meilleurs moments enregistrés de Peter Evans et son partenaire est parfaitement à la hauteur pour rendre la pareille à ce prodige de la trompette. Ces extraordinaires CD’s more is more et Nature / Culture sont des albums solos auxquels la plupart des auditeurs préfèrent souvent la musique de groupe. Kopros Lithos est un superbe trio en compagnie de Mats Gustafsson et d’Agusti Fernandez où Evans nous montre quel improvisateur intelligent au sein d’un collectif il est devenu. Dans Sparks, le trompettiste déploie toute sa magnificence dans les spirales les plus insensées, soufflant en respiration circulaire tout en saturant le son, explosant les timbres et articulant des cascades d’accords superposés comme personne. Un dialogue intense entre les deux instrumentistes transcendé par une énergie électrique.Tom Blancarte et Peter Evans ont laissé ici une trace exceptionnelle et révélatrice. Fabuleux ! Jean-Michel Van Schouwburg (Orynx-improv'andsounds)