William Parker: Luc's Lantern (2005)

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William Parker: Luc's Lantern
Where's Hamid Drake, you might ask. And who is pianist Eri Yamamoto? These questions quickly become secondary as you discover that the latest William Parker release in Thirsty Ear's Blue Series is as musically interesting, listenable, and rewarding as his previous efforts for the label: Painter's Spring (2000), Raining on the Moon (2002), and Scrapbook (2003). From the opening "Adena, where the trio gradually takes the tune rhythmically outside, with Parker's bass leading the way to the brief atmospheric coda "Candlesticks on the Lake, the leader's compositions are melodic or groovy—or both at once—and no matter how far out the improvisations go (and they never go too far), the trio always brings the tunes back to their beginning.

Yamamoto lands quick piano jabs over driving muscular pizzicato on the title track. On "Mourning Sunset and "Bud in Alphaville, she extrapolates out from the melody while paralleling drummer Michael Thompson, her well-chosen clusters meeting his crisp cymbal shots to anchor the tunes. On "Phoenix, Yamamoto plays behind and around the beat Parker lays down and on the quiet ballad "Song for Tyler, Thompson distinguishes himself with shimmering brush work on his cymbals as Yamamoto follows Parker's lead, her heavy dramatic chords falling as if released from velvet gloves.

Luc's Lantern is pristinely recorded, with Parker's bass up high in the mix, allowing you to focus on his style and ability. It's worth noting that "Jaki, Parker's tribute to the late piano giant Jaki Byard, is the most exhilarating song on the CD, exuberantly swinging and representing everything that's good about jazz music. This is the sort of CD you can play again and again and always want to hear just one more time.

Track Listing: Adena; Song for Tyler; Mourning Sunset; Evening Star Song; Lucs Lantern; Jaki; Bud in Alphaville; Charcoal Flower; Phoenix; Candlesticks on the Lake.

Personnel: William Parker (bass); Eri Yamamoto (piano); Michael Thompson (drums).

Record Label: Thirsty Ear Recordings

Style: Modern Jazz


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