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Ye Ren: Another Shining Path

Robert Spencer By

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Have you ever heard William Parker play bass? If so, are you still unconvinced of his mastery? If Another Shining Path won't convince you, your ears are tragically closed.

Take the very first track, "A Fork in the Road." Listen to how Parker weaves bass figures in and out and around the thoughtful alto of Gary Hassay. Listen to how all three players create a new and free soundscape of lyrical depth, without indulging in any of the clichés or tired screams of the now thirty-plus-year-old New Thing.

Then see how the temperature slowly rises on "7th Street Prowl." Note how Parker increases the tension, slackens it again, brings matters to a boil, and supports Hassay as he returns again to calm and searching long tones. Nor is even that the end of the ride. This trio shows here that it has the ability to pack worlds, universes, into seven minutes thirteen.

"Night Train" continues this action in a somewhat tenser mode, with Hassay fluttering in the high registers as Parker bows mellifluously. Here for the first time Hassay approaches the flat-out horn technique of Kidd Jordan, Charles Gayle, et al, but only briefly, and, with Parker's help, dramatic coherence.

"Circumambulate," "It Was Rich's Race," and "Ante Up" are as rich and multifaceted as the rest of the disc, with Hassay particularly strong in the quietest passages.

Toshi Makihara is no slouch either. He is stentorian and effective on "Come What May" (where Parker prods Hassay with powerful, intermittent rhythmic figures) and is the prime architect of the delicate, ringing opening to "Northern Lights." All three players, however, (especially Parker and his wonderfully whining bow) contribute a great deal to the crepuscular atmosphere of this piece.

A lyrical, surprising, and superbly executed series of performances.

Drimala Records may be obtained at www.drimala.com.

Track listing: A Fork in the Road / 7th Street Prowl / Night Train / Northern Lights / Circumambulate / It Was Rich's Race / Ante Up / Come What May


Title: Another Shining Path | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: Drimala Records


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