William Parker / Raining On The Moon: Corn Meal Dance (2007)
Vocalist Leena Conquest's jazz-blues delivery is heightened by a soul-stirring edge that occasionally sparks remembrances of a 1970s style hip-ness akin to pianist Horace Silver's post-Blue Note Records era. On this endeavor, the sextet merges lush melodies with propulsive swing and bop themes amid a few free-style meltdowns.
Trumpeter Lewis Barnes and alto saxophonist Rob Brown belt out more than just a few brash and soaring solo spots. The band is apt to flex its might, primarily implemented as a mechanism to drive home a point or two. Otherwise, Parker's fluid and prominently generated mode of operations imparts a buoyant element to the grand schema. On "Soledad, the rhythm section renders a snappy medium-tempo swing vamp that is diverted by Brown's rapid sax attack and pianist Eri Yamamoto's frenetic phrasings. Here, and on other works, the musicians communicate imagery that reaffirms the lyrical content. It's as if they take charge of matters, owing to the given nature or inherent attributes of a particular song or motif. But they tone it down a few notches on the gospel inflected piano-vocal duet "Prayer.
Hopefully this gem won't go unnoticed. Once again, Parker champions that rather open-ended and objective component, known as art imitating life. Hence, it's a rather persuasive critical commentary manifested through the power of music.
Track Listing: Doctor Yesterday; Tutsi Orphans; Poem For June Jordan; Soledad; Corn Meal Dance; Land Song; Prayer; Old Tears; Gilmore's Hat.
Personnel: William Parker: bass; Rob Brown: alto saxophone; Lewis Barnes: trumpet; Eri Yamamoto: piano; Leena Conquest: voice; Hamid Drake: drums.
Record Label: AUM Fidelity
Style: Modern Jazz