Born Bristol, 5 April 1944; Tenor and soprano saxophones. The sources for these notes have come from various places, but in particular from Martin Davidson's notes to recent Emanem releases and Evan Parker's notes to 50th birthday concert.
Evan Parker started to play (alto) saxophone around the age of 14, being particularly interested in the music of Paul Desmond. At 16 he started to play the soprano saxophone and there followed a period where he concentrated on soprano only, influenced by John Coltrane. Following his undergraduate studies at Birmingham University, he moved to London and, in late 1966/early 1967 began playing in the Spontaneous Music Ensemble (SME) who, at that time, along with Parker, comprised John Stevens, Kenny Wheeler, Paul Rutherford, Trevor Watts and Derek Bailey. The regular venue for these sessions was the Little Theatre Club in London. By summer 1967 the SME had shaken down to two principals (Stevens and Parker), though other musicians played with the duo on an ad hoc basis, e.g. Barre Phillips, Peter Kowald. It is from this period that the earliest recordings of Evan Parker have so far been released (Summer 1967).
Early in 1968, Parker left the SME, though he did play with them on occasions, for example, a 1974 session with Bailey, Watts, Stevens and Kent Carter at London's ICA Theatre (Quintessence 1 and Quintessence 2). He also worked in duo with John Stevens, the latest recording dating from 1993, just over a year before Stevens' death. From this time (after 1968) he started to work regularly with Derek Bailey, as a duo, documented on several recordings, and in the Music Improvisation Company with, in addition to Bailey, Hugh Davies, Jamie Muir and, for the last year of its life, Christine Jeffrey. The MIC lasted from 1968 to 1971. During this period Parker also worked in various of Tony Oxley's groups and it was in 1970 when he formed Incus Records with Bailey and Oxley, the hugely influential label that was one of the few ways of getting the music outside of the capital. Parker was also involved in many of Bailey's Company groupings but stopped working with Bailey in 1985 and left Incus at this time.