William Parker: Temporary & In the Shade of the Sun
William Parker / Giorgio Dini
John Blum with Sunny Murray and William Parker
Bassist William Parker is deeply familiar with the lower register. He's played in duo and quartet groupings of string basses. He gravitates towards the tuba, the Malian donso ngoni and other instruments of the bass clef. He's got the lowdown.
It's a murky area to take up residence. Details are lost to a lot of people. Historically you're hired on as support staff. The audience talks during your solos. But Parker has made his presence known and pursues the low end endlessly. His most recent double bass pairing is with the classically-trained Italian player Giorgio Dini, who has worked with Carlos Actis Dato, Sam Rivers and Ralph Moore. Over Temporary's five tracks (on one of which Parker plays shakuhachi; elsewhere hand percussion is also heard) they show a keen appreciation of the most important aspect of making a bass duo work: don't step on each other's toes. If one is high, the other goes low; if one is plucking, the other bows. The two voices are always distinct and nicely separated in the stereo field. Any grouping of like instruments is a challenge for both players and listeners and for low strings it's probably the trickiest. Parker and Dini pull it off with aplomb.
Parker is in a more traditional role as one-third of a piano trio on John Blum's In the Shade of Sun, but what a piano trio that is. Completed by Sunny Murray, one of the originals responsible for freeing the drums from their timekeeping role in the New Thing explosion of the '60s, the trio is full on power and control. This is no mean feat. Blum, the youngest of the three but well up to such a grouping (he also worked with Parker and drummer Denis Charles in Antonio Grippi's quartet), plays with strong hands, but is never simply pounding. Murray is propulsive, but with finesse. Parker here becomes the foundationalthough perhaps more akin to a tectonic plate: massive and supporting the weight, yet shifting, in flux. He sets sound phraseology, but sets new terms with each passing bar. As with the great trio By Any Means (with saxophonist Charles Gayle and the late Rashied Ali on drums), it's fantastic to hear Parker in such a hard-driving classic formulation.
Tracks and Personnel
Tracks: Temporary One: Preludio; Temporary Two: Improvviso; Temporary Three: Intermezzo; Temporary Four: Largo; Temporary Five: Danza e Finale.
Personnel: William Parker: double bass, shakuhachi; Giorgio Dini: double bass.
In the Shade of Sun
Tracks: In the Shade of the Sun (part 1); First and Last; Misanthrope's Dream; Out of This Nettle; Transmigration; In the Shade of the Sun (part 2).
Personnel: John Blum: piano; William Parker: bass; Sunny Murray: drums.