Improvising musician Andrea Parkins plays accordion, sampler, and piano, and none of her instruments are approached conventionally. As an accordionist, Parkins fragments the instrument's traditional vocabulary and expands its capabilities with electronics and extended techniques, and she combines piano and accordion with digital sampling. During the 1990s Parkins led a trio with saxophonist Briggan Krauss and drummer Kenny Wollesen that released two CDs on the Knitting Factory Records label, Cast Iron Fact in 1996 and Slippage in 1998. Into the new millennium she has continued to make significant contributions to the utterly unique sound of tenor saxophonist Ellery Eskelin's working trio, which includes the wiry and nimble Jim Black on drums. The formidable musicianship of Eskelin and Black cannot be discounted as factors in this trio's excellence, but the group might sound at least a bit more conventional if Parkins' accordion and sampler were replaced, in standard jazz trio fashion, by a bassist. Parkins can be heard on such Eskelin CDs as One Great Day..., Kulak, 29 & 30, Five Other Pieces (+2), Ramifications, and The Secret Museum on Hatology as well as Jazz Trash on the Songlines label. She also appears on Many Rings, the Knitting Factory Records release by improvising guitarist Joe Morris and his quartet (also including Karen Borca on bassoon and Rob Brown on alto saxophone and flute). In the 2000s, Parkins began performing in another innovative improvising trio, a collaborative endeavor that also features guitarist Nels Cline and drummer Tom Rainey -- she can be heard on 2004's Ash and Tabula released by Atavistic and on Downpour, released by the Victo label in 2007 and recorded live at the preceding year's Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville in Victoriaville, Quebec. ~ Dave Lynch
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