302

William Parker: Long Hidden: The Olmec Series

Eyal Hareuveni By

Sign in to view read count
William Parker: Long Hidden: The Olmec Series On Long Hidden: The Olmec Series, bass giant William Parker suggests a new cosmology that unearths common threads between the ancient, indigenous cultures of West African Manding and Middle American Olmec people—who lived in the east lowlands of Mexico from 1300 to 400 BC—and modern jazz in one of its more daring manifestations, the solo bass performance. Long Hidden was recorded in two sessions over the last decade, adding a bonus track from Parker's out of print, self-released Painter's Autumn (Centering, 1993) and featuring Parker in three different configurations: as a solo bass improviser, as an improviser on his custom-made eight-string Malian hunter's lute, the doson ngoni, and as a percussionist and six-string doson ngoni player with the merengue-based Olmec Group.

Such an ambitious vision might be dismissed right away if offered by any other artist, but with Parker's compassionate and unassuming approach, it sounds so relevant and sensible that you begin to contemplate about other long-hidden threads that Parker may explore in future releases. An optimistic and humane musical vision like this deserves our deepest respect.

Long Hidden begins with Parker's spacious and resonant pizzicato playing of the gospel "A Balm in Gilead," which he recorded—playing arco—on Painter's Spring (Thirsty Ear, 2000) and describes in his liner notes as a meditation "on why we are here and what we have made of the world."

Parker relates that Don Cherry introduced him to the doson ngoni, which "made my heart sing," but the three tracks that feature this delicate instrument sound as if he's plucking a guitar or banjo in a much more gentle style than Cherry's hurried strumming. Parker describes these soothing tracks as "connected to the people sitting on the porch after supper... a suspending time of tuning and detuning dreams."

The Olmec Group features veteran saxophonist Dave Sewelson, associated with the Microscopic Sextet and his own Swelsonics, and bassist Todd Nicholson, a musical associate of violinist Billy Bang. This group's percussion-based tracks leave a lot of room for Sewelson and the young saxophonist Isaiah Parker to embark on stratospheric voyages. The longest track, "Pok-a-Pok," inspired by an Olmec ball game, anchors this release with its slow, percolating rhythms. The short call-and-response "Espirito" links all the musicians to magic and spirituality in its Latin-based gospel sensibility.

Two solo bass tracks were recorded live in 1997 in Berkeley, California. "Cathedral of Light" and "Compassion Seizes Bed-Stuy," a reprise of Parker's composition for his In Order to Survive quartet (Compassion Seizes Bed-Stuy, Homestead, 1995), are fantastic demonstrations of his soulful and measured arco playing. The bonus track, "In Case of Accident," contrasts the otherwise leisurely spirit of Long Hidden with a muscular fourteen-minute tour-de-force onslaught on the bass that leaves you breathless.


Track Listing: There is a Balm in Gilead; Long Hidden, Part Two; Codex; El Puente Seco; Long Hidden, Part Three; Cathedral of Light; Compassion Seizes Bed-Stuy; Pok-A-Tok; Espirito; Long Hidden, Part One; Bonus Track: In Case of Accident.

Personnel: William Parker: bass (1,6,7,11), eight-string doson ngoni (2,5,10). The Olmec Group (3,4,8,9): Dave Sewelson: baritone and alto saxophone; Isaiah Parker: alto saxophone; Luis Ramirez: accordion; Todd Nicholson: bass; William Parker: eight-string doson ngoni, percussion; Omar Payano: congo, guiro, voice; Gabriel Nunez: timbale, bongos.

Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: AUM Fidelity | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Chasing Shadows" CD/LP/Track Review Chasing Shadows
by Eyal Hareuveni
Published: July 8, 2016
Read "Meditations on Freedom" CD/LP/Track Review Meditations on Freedom
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: January 16, 2017
Read "WANDERlust" CD/LP/Track Review WANDERlust
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 19, 2016
Read "Ballast" CD/LP/Track Review Ballast
by Dave Wayne
Published: June 6, 2016
Read "Hotel Cinema" CD/LP/Track Review Hotel Cinema
by Glenn Astarita
Published: August 3, 2016
Read "Motion" CD/LP/Track Review Motion
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 11, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!