463

William Parker: Petit Oiseau

Lyn Horton By

Sign in to view read count
William Parker: Petit Oiseau Bassist William Parker is a consummate musical storyteller. In every group he leads he becomes the father, the uncle, a present day version of the classic Homer, to pass down through generations the essential message of music: that it is a part of us all and without it, we might tend to be soulless. For Parker, within sound's continuum, music conveys everything that is human, hopefully in terms that imply humanity's goodness, a strong spirituality and that which transcends man's inhumanity to man and this planet.

The quartet that creates the music on Petit Oiseau is close knit. They are as brothers. Their tightness sets a standard and molds their sound. They can move within and outside of their unity without ever sacrificing it. As individual instrumentalists, each can rely on another to be responsive to any specific phrasings without being tangential, ensuring the group's integrity.

Altoist Rob Brown and trumpeter Lewis Barnes take on lead roles in the quartet. The conversations they have with each other often meld into harmonic dissertations which themselves, once established, can shoot off in different directions, sometimes dissonant, sometimes curvilinear ("Groove Sweet"), wild and bright ("Four for Tommy"), or a combination of every dynamic and timbre ("Shorter For Alan"); the two always come back to center. Brown and Barnes complement each other tonally and figuratively ("The Golden Bell"). The instrumental fluid blending and exchange of lines between them is downright friendly ("Malachi's Mom") and occasionally assiduously serious ("Shorter for Alan").

The center of the music is rooted both in William Parker's clear-cut, recurrent, imitative, unabashed and extraordinarily simple bass line statements which can rise into mindful, introverted solo explorations ("Shorter for Alan"), and also in Hamid Drake's direct and unwavering polyrhythmic flurries, flashes, collective clicks on the cymbals and resilient strokes across the toms. Parker and Drake are without doubt different arms to one body. There is nothing that they do that is disconnected ("Talaps Theme," "Malachi's Mom").

The title tune exemplifies the height of this group's capacity to roll out a theme/improvisation in which absolutely no holes exist. Every musical idea is complete. Nothing is lacking. Synchronistic coordination between the alto and the trumpet, supported by stalwart rhythmic flexibility, separates into logically intuitive improvisation from either horn; one horn line can intercept the line of the other, but not without being thoroughly developed first. The inserted coloration of the bass and cymbals and rapid stick work on the toms and snare supplies a satisfying change in sonic texture.

Being human requires practicing being human. That does not mean sinking inescapably into the human state; rather it means moving with and through living, and for Parker and the musicians he works with, the medium for that travel is music ("Dust From A Mountain"). And if this medium conveys the human character, Parker and his musicians are happy because they are stepping into the space beyond suffering and expressing their will for compassion and wisdom.


Track Listing: Groove Sweet: Groove #7/Hamid's Groove/Daughters Joy; Talaps Theme; Petit Oiseau; The Golden Bell; Four For Tommy; Malachi's Mode; Dust From A Mountain; Shorter For Alan.

Personnel: William Parker: bass and cedar flute; Lewis Barnes: trumpet; Rob Brown: alto saxophone and B-flat clarinet; Hamid Drake: drums, balafon and frame drum.

Title: Petit Oiseau | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: AUM Fidelity


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Eleven Cages CD/LP/Track Review Eleven Cages
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Afro-Caribbean Mixtape CD/LP/Track Review Afro-Caribbean Mixtape
by Mark F. Turner
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Wake Up Call CD/LP/Track Review Wake Up Call
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 27, 2017
Read The Late Trane CD/LP/Track Review The Late Trane
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Developing Story CD/LP/Track Review Developing Story
by Edward Blanco
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall) CD/LP/Track Review Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall)
by Phil Barnes
Published: June 26, 2017
Read "Near Life Experience" CD/LP/Track Review Near Life Experience
by John Kelman
Published: June 27, 2016
Read "Paco and John - Live at Montreux 1987" CD/LP/Track Review Paco and John - Live at Montreux 1987
by John Kelman
Published: August 29, 2016
Read "Song of the Free Will" CD/LP/Track Review Song of the Free Will
by Dave Wayne
Published: November 16, 2016
Read "The Stone House" CD/LP/Track Review The Stone House
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 27, 2017
Read "The Look Of Love: Songs Of The Sixties" CD/LP/Track Review The Look Of Love: Songs Of The Sixties
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: June 4, 2017
Read "2-Man Jazz Band" CD/LP/Track Review 2-Man Jazz Band
by Budd Kopman
Published: November 27, 2016

Smart Advertising!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.