Suddenly Heart Of The Sun from veteran drummer William Hooker's The Gift looks a whole lot more poignant. With the passing of trumpeter Roy Campbell in January 2014, Hooker has been deprived of one of his longest collaborators. Campbell first appeared alongside the drummer on Colour Circle (CJR, 1989) as part of the self styled three member William Hooker Orchestra, and then later as one third of The Gift on Live at Sangha (Bmadish Records, 2005). As ever here Campbell mixes speedy proto bebop outbursts with an earthy lyricism, this last trait being particularly appropriate as Hooker, in what seems ...read more
On the face of it the title couldn't be more apt, as drummer William Hooker leads his four accomplices through an organically unfurling invention fashioned from their collective streams of consciousness. But a closer listen betrays signs of premeditation, not least in trumpeter Chris DiMeglio's wistful reiterated motif which reappears at regular junctures during the continuous 68-minute performance. Other evidence comes from the presence of an overarching form, as intricate drum and percussion grooves bookend the piece captured live at Roulette in March 2010. That's not a surprise as experience suggests that Hooker marshals his resources to engender a strong ...read more
Drummer William Hooker was a mainstay at New York City's downtown jazz haven The Knitting Factory, amid several cross-functional albums for its record label. He's a freethinker, possessing a broad musicality, largely immersed in improvisation, and communicates a comfort zone whether tackling or expanding numerous world music stylizations nestled within free-jazz, avant-rock and other genres. Recorded at Roulette in New York City, Channels of Consciousness is a passionate endeavor, where the quintet aggregates garrulous free-jazz, blues, and fluctuating asymmetrical structures during the free-form jazz pieces. Lower Interlude" is in fact, a program interlude, featuring Hooker's duet with percussionist ...read more
After his well-received Earth's Orbit (No Business Records, 2010), drummer/composer William Hooker raids the archives for Crossing Points, drawn from a 1992 New York City date with saxophonist Thomas Chapin. The drummer has straddled the free jazz and noise camps, but here almost merges the two in a 76-minute program where the energy levels barely move out of the red. Chapin, whose early death from leukemia in 1998, at the age of 40, thwarted a career that sought to gloriously integrate downtown experimentalism into the mainstream, digs deep just to hold on. Hooker is elemental, a roaring undertow ...read more
Drummer William Hooker can tell stories in many more ways than one. On Yearn for Certainty, he works his majestic tenor vocal chords as he recites a poem that accompanies the initial track, Ingratiated Beam--Leroy." One track later, on the superbly crafted, rhapsodic melody of Century's Soles," Hooker manipulates his ensemble of drums to tell a wholly different story, reaching deep into the African-ness of the origin of all civilization, as he follows footprints in the proverbial sands of time. These are the highlights of this album and also present the two sides of Hooker's artistry. As ...read more
William Hooker Earth's Orbit No Business Records 2010 If East Coast is hot and West Coast cool in classic jazz parlance, then composer and drummer William Hooker subverts that tenet with East hot, West hotter in this limited edition, double vinyl set featuring separate bands captured live on each coast. Hooker has a fascination for incorporating other art forms into his performance, be it his own poetry or films, often transcending his free jazz roots to encompass rock and noise sensibilities in the process. But on these sides he focuses firmly on ...read more
William Hooker The Symbol of the Unconquered Media Sanctuary 2009
It must be challenging to play the drums solo, but it must be even more so to improvise an hour-long soundtrack to a silent movie. Percussionist William Hooker took on this daunting task with the 1920 silent film, The Symbol of the Unconquered. Presented by the Sanctuary for Independent Media in Troy, NY, this film screening and live performance was one of a 13-part series called Free Jazz from the Sanctuary." The Symbol of the Unconquered is one of ...read more
There's that iconic story about Elvin Jones, the man who altered the course of jazz drumming by seeking new sounds. Once at a gig in a bar as a young man, a customer came up to him and said, Hey, make some noise." Relating the incident to Lewis Nash in a 1977 interview, Jones added: People never understood that the drum is a musical instrument." Anyone with open ears listening to drummer William Hooker's The Seasons Fire, with Eyvind Kang and Bill Horist, will understand that the drum is a musical instrument. And there's no doubt that ...read more
Jeff Marx and Jeff Siegel Dreamstuff Ayler Records 2007 Eddie Prevost and Alan Wilkinson so are we, so are we Matchless Recordings 2006 William Hooker and Sabir Mateen Dharma Kordova Milk Bar Records 2007
Duo performance is one of the most revealing venues for a performer. While as exposed as if performing solo, the inclusion of another musician into the creative process forces ...read more
Full-fledged improvisational music can be hard on the ear, but it can also be amazing if you're openminded enough to listen carefully. In that state of mind, I paid a visit to The Kitchen on October 6 to catch drummer William Hooker performing with Text of Light, an ensemble that included Ulrigh Krieger, Alan Licht, Christian Marclay, and Lee Ranaldo. With two guitars, one turntable, saxophone, and drums, the continuous set was a cacophony of feedback and extraneous sound effects that even included someone placing his finger on one end of a guitar cable and playing around ...read more
You know that you are listening to something very different when the instrument that best creates a harmonic centre is the drum kit. Atavistic inaugurates its Out Trios series with a live recording by guitarist Lee Ranaldo, bassist Roger Miller, and drummer William Hooker that explores the many facets of texture, rhythm and timbre. Monsoon is a take-no-prisoners album of experimental music that will appeal to fans of avant jazz and out rock.
Recorded live at the Knitting Factory in 2002, Monsoon consists of one 49-minute piece, creating an ambience that could best be described as other-worldly. The only thing ...read more
While the idea is consistently maligned by the improvised music cognoscenti, it is nevertheless a fact that the heaps of praise and credibility given improvised music by members of Sonic Youth – specifically guitarists Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo – have helped provide free jazz the boost in popularity that it enjoys today. Moore is of course the major player in this realm, having written much on the subject, but Ranaldo has for years quietly built a catalog of consistently wigged solo work, as well as cutting a number of sessions with free jazz drummer William Hooker. For this, the ...read more
William Hooker is a spirit drummer who has shared his energy with musicians from Billy Bang, David Murray and David S. Ware to DJ Spooky and Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo. He has been given the opportunity to hone the minds and souls of children by teaching social studies and literacy with components of choral and vocal music at the Walt Whitman Middle School in Brooklyn. A component of his curriculum is inviting speakers to his classes including musicians Richard Keene, Lewis Barnes, Mark Hennen, Tor Snyder, architect Leslie Neblit and reknowned writer Denize Lauture. Downtown saxophonist Ras ...read more
Synonymous with New York City’s Downtown Scene while frequently touring the college circuit and performing at New York’s famed Knitting Factory, drummer/composer William Hooker is at the forefront of the Avante-Garde. Whether jamming out improvised rock with Sonic Youth’s Lee Renaldo or touring with jazz violinist Billy Bang, Hooker’s ceaseless creative energies are admirable and prove to be quite diverse as illustrated in “The Distance Between Us”, his third studio album among his seventeen recorded releases.
Hooker opens with his composition titled “The Gates”. Here, Hooker affably hums and scats melodies while accompanying himself on drums. An unorthodox approach some ...read more
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