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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Borah Bergman/Kidd Jordan/William Parker/Michael Wimberly: Vita Brevis

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Vita Brevis represents maverick pianist Borah Bergman's last session before his death at age 85 in 2013. In the liners label boss Joe Chonto speculates that Bergman suffered from undiagnosed Aspberger's syndrome. As such it's perhaps not a surprise that he found his niche in outsider music--the jazz avant-garde. However his musical ability was never in doubt, given his remarkable facility to simultaneously pursue separate lines at length with each hand. On this date he's surrounded by other elder statesmen of the scene capable of following the pianist wherever he roams. NOLA saxophonist Kidd Jordan's uncompromising career stretches ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Jeff Cosgrove: Alternating Current

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"Playing music is like doing heart surgery," bassist William Parker told interviewer Radhika Philiip in Being Here: Conversations on Creating Music (Radio.org, 2013). “Every time you hit a note, someone's life is on the line, and so you can't fool around." Serious intent and intense focus are the cornerstones of these playful dialogues between Parker, drummer Jeff Cosgrove and pianist Matthew Shipp. A similar approach is also recommended in approaching this music--background noise it ain't. Drummer Andrew Cyrille--to whom the title track is dedicated--is the link between the three musicians, having taught Cosgrove and collaborated with both Shipp ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Wood Flute Songs: Anthology/Live 2006-2012

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A box set that includes over nine hours of one musician's output could be considered indulgent. Indulgent yes, unless that musician's last name is Parker. Certainly the family of Parker we're talking about includes the bebop innovator Charlie Parker, free jazz saxophonist Evan Parker, and jazz padrone William Parker . The latter Parker is a bassist, band leader, writer, poet, spokesman, and a weather vane that points listeners and musicians to the new directions of jazz. This release is his third box set and it follows a 3-CD set of solo performances Crumbling In The Shadows Is Fraulein ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ivo Perelman / Matthew Shipp / William Parker / Gerald Cleaver: Serendipity

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Currently in the midst of an unprecedented mid-career renaissance, wildly prolific tenor saxophonist Ivo Perelman has been recording for Leo Records at a frantic pace, typically issuing several new albums at a time. Released concurrently with The Edge and The Art of the Duet, Volume One is Serendipity, a title that bears out its namesake. Taped in the winter of 2011 during what was originally intended to be the session for The Foreign Legion, a bass-less trio date with Perelman's regular collaborators pianist Matthew Shipp and drummer Gerald Cleaver, this unplanned quartet effort with legendary bassist William Parker is a ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

William Parker Orchestra: Essence of Ellington

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Talk to any member of the so-called avant-garde, and what is immediately apparent is a deep familiarity and love of the tradition. That's not to say that there is a desire to replicate: almost the opposite. New York City bass icon William Parker first began listening to Duke Ellington when he was seven years old. One thing he learned was not to imitate but to find his own way in music. And that comes through in spades on this double album recorded in concert in Milan in early 2011. With a cast which reads like New York's Vision Festival on ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

William Parker: Centering - Unreleased Early Recordings 1976-1987

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William ParkerCentering: Unreleased Early Recordings 1976-1987No Business Records2012Nobusiness Records has been building up to this monumental, six-disc cache of unreleased early recordings by bassist William Parker for some time. The Lithuanian label's unsurpassed documentation of the New York City loft jazz era has so far encompassed reissues and never before released material on saxophonist Jemeel Moondoc's Muntu Recordings (2010), Commitment's Complete Recordings 1980/1983 (2010), violinist Billy Bang's Survival Ensemble's Black Man's Blues/New York Collage (2011) and the Freestyle Band (2012). Following in those footsteps, this box set is a high quality production, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joe Morris / William Parker / Gerald Cleaver: Altitude

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Guitarist Joe Morris is on a roll. Hardly a month goes by without a new release featuring the Boston-based musician. Of course, he doubled his chances by adding acoustic bass to his armory alongside his six-stringed axe. It's the latter he wields on this trio date featuring bassist William Parker and drummer Gerald Cleaver, captured at New York City's Stone in June, 2011. Strangely, given their long acquaintance, this is the first time this particular combination has recorded, though each knows the others well from other collaborations. Cleaver and Parker form two-thirds of improvising collective Farmers By Nature, while Parker ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joe Morris/ William Parker/ Gerald Cleaver: Altitude

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Of all the possible combinations and permutations of modern improvising jazzmen, it's a wonder that the trio of guitarist Joe Morris, bassist William Parker and drummer Gerald Cleaver have never worked together as a unit. Luckily in 2011, at the urging of label chief Steven Joerg, the trio got together for two sets at The Stone in New York as part of a two-week AUM curated series.Much like on Cleaver's previous release with Parker and pianist Craig Taborn entitled Out of This World's Distortions (AUM, 2011), this ensemble performs in a seemingly leaderless fashion. Each player subscribes to ...

BOOK REVIEWS

William Parker: Conversations

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Conversations William Parker, Jacques Bisceglia, Ed Hazell Hardcover; 445 pages Rogueart 2011 Not since drummer Art Taylor's Notes and Tones (Da Capo, 1993)--the book which bassist William Parker says inspired him to undertake this project--has there been a book of interviews so vital, so down to earth and so personal. What we have here are 34 interviews conducted by Parker over approximately the last decade, 30 of which are with so-called free jazz/improvisers, two with new music composers, one with Patricia Nicholson Parker, his wife, a dancer and an organizer of such events as the ongoing Vision Festival, ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Vision Festival: Day 7 Finale, New York, NY, June 11, 2011

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Day 1 | Days 2-3 | Day 4 | Days 5-6 | Day 7 Vision FestivalAbrons Arts CenterNew York CityJune 11, 2011 Reut Regev R*Time Special Edition Trombonist Reut Regev's R*Time began the final night of the Vision Festival in exuberant style. Since relocating to New York from her native Israel in 1998, Regev has kept an inclusively wide contacts book, encompassing Latin, klezmer and rock, as well as the contemporary avant-garde. She notably holds down the trombone chair in esteemed composer/saxophonist Anthony Braxton's renowned Twelvetet +1, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

David S. Ware / Cooper-Moore / William Parker / Muhammad Ali: Planetary Unknown

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Renowned saxophonist David S. Ware continues to explore new avenues following his successful kidney transplant two years ago. Since then, Ware released Saturnian (AUM Fidelity, 2009), a stoic solo set, and Onecept (AUM Fidelity, 2010), a bristling trio excursion with bassist William Parker and drummer Warren Smith. Planetary Unknown surpasses even these notable recordings, featuring an all-star quartet whose members' combined experience encapsulates the last four decades of free jazz history.Parker has been Ware's primary colleague for almost two decades; his robust tone and intuitive phrasing complements the saxophonist's tortuous excursions with near clairvoyance. Though his recent efforts ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

David S. Ware / Cooper-Moore / William Parker / Muhammad Ali: Planetary Unknown

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Planetary Unknown marks the first time this quartet played together, though that isn't apparent, given the music's deep roots and connections. Drummer Muhammad Ali is brother to Rashied, who worked with John Coltrane's post-Elvin Jones group. This is his first appearance on record since the early 1980s, and he brings a wealth of experience with the likes of Albert Ayler and Alan Shorter, to the table. Saxophonist David S. Ware and pianist Cooper-Moore came to New York together in 1973, and this release marks their first collaboration in thirty years. William Parker vies for the title of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

David S. Ware / Cooper-Moore / William Parker / Muhammad Ali: Planetary Unknown

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Saxophone giant David S. Ware's comeback following a kidney transplant continues apace, this time within a new super group comprising some of the brighter magnitude bodies in the free jazz firmament. Ware's post-op output includes potent showings in Saturnian (Aum Fidelity, 2009) and Onecept (Aum Fidelity, 2010) but Planetary Unknown represents the strongest achievement yet. In large part, that is down to the egalitarian outlook of the stellar cast. Bassist William Parker remains a constant in Ware's universe, his huge sound and propulsive swing ever present since the late 1980s. Reunited with Ware for the first time in ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

William Parker Organ Quartet: Uncle Joe's Spirit House

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Defining his direction is one recognizable talent that composer/musician William Parker constantly demonstrates, though not in so many words; but within his art, the direction is clear as day. The musicians he chooses to fulfill his intentions are also exactly whom he needs, for he understands how they operate to blend in joyous confluence that is the realization of his music. In Uncle Joe's Spirit House, Parker's Organ Quartet constructs an aural Space addressing his own personal history. Dedicated to his Aunt Carrie Lee Edwards and Uncle Joe, wed 65 years, the recording is replete with Parker's ...



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