William Parker's latest trio disc for Thirsty Ear features pianist Eri Yamamato, a classical prodigy who moved to New York, bagged the powdered wigs, and threw herself into jazz head first at the New School. Yamamoto joins the archbassist and drummer Michael Thompson for what must be the most overtly jazz-oriented album in the TE catalogue. Parker's elegant lyricism and earthy romanticism guides these occasionally breathtaking sessions.
"Adena follows a medium tempo groove that keeps the trio time-locked until Parker's solo variations tread the outlands. Yamamoto and Thompson rejoin for the close. The beautiful ballad "Song for Tyler has Yamamoto's gently-nuanced performance underpinned by Parker's inevitable thump on the beat. "Mourning Sunset carries bluesy dread and a slippery double stop in the bass line. Yamamoto deals unisons and chordal variations, thinking orchestrally. Her multi-voiced melodic inventions fill the group sound.
Parker's deep reading of the theme doubles Yamamoto on "Evening Star Song. The pianist gently juggles chords without undercutting the tune's drama. The title track sends the trio hurtling through the brisk theme, all three bearing down to blow into a whirlwind. The tentative delicacy of "Charcoal Flower seems too melodic to be improvised, too bristly to be scored. A fascinating ballad. Parker builds a strong line for Yamamoto's unhurried melodicism.
Luc's Lantern shines a light on William Parker's versatility and uncanny taste, revealing an eminently listenable gem.