All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

581

William Parker Quartet: Petit Oiseau

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
Last heard on 2005's live recording Sound Unity (AUM Fidelity), Petit Oiseau is the triumphant return of bassist William Parker's longstanding quartet. This superb studio session features the same passionate swing and heartfelt lyricism that made their debut record, O'Neal's Porch (Centering, 2001) an instant classic.

Few veteran working groups are able to balance inside/outside traditions as gracefully as Parker's flagship ensemble has over the past decade. Parker's formative experiences supporting Cecil Taylor and David S. Ware have endowed him with an erudite background in free improvisation that has elevated numerous collective projects, many of which orbit the fertile scene documented by the yearly Vision Festival that Parker co-organizes with his wife, dancer Patricia Nicholson.



For all his avant-garde credentials, Parker also bears deep roots in the jazz tradition; this ensemble interprets his most alluring compositions with a combination of harmonic sophistication and soulful exuberance. The venerable front-line of Lewis Barnes (trumpet) and Rob Brown (alto saxophone) join Parker and his longtime rhythm section partner, percussionist Hamid Drake, on a mixed set that veers from the ebullient post bop of the title track to exotic travelogues.



One of today's finest rhythm sections, Parker and Drake are renowned for their ability to incorporate disparate ethnic traditions from around the globe into multi-layered polyrhythms suitable for extended jazz improvisation. Languorous reggae grooves, bucolic African drum patterns, Middle Eastern modal vamps and assorted folk motifs are all incorporated into their sublime post bop excursions. The episodic three-part opener, "Groove Suite," showcases their expansive range as they vacillate between a variety of tempos and meters.



The front-line horn section offers a complementary mix of kaleidoscopic colors and vibrant textures. Brown's tart alto tone, keening pitch and coiled, circuitous phrases are balanced by Barnes' subtly muted vocal timbres, placid intonation and mellifluous cadences. Dynamic stylists with a wide range of expressive potential, they occasionally vary their customary approaches; Brown downplays his usual veracity on the dreamy "Golden Bell" while Barnes amplifies his attack on the scorching free bop anthem, "Four For Tommy."



Resoundingly melodic, this session highlights some of Parker's most tuneful writing. Gorgeous dedications to the late Art Ensemble bassist Malachi Favors ("Malachi's Mode") and iconic trumpeter Alan Shorter ("Shorter For Alan") resound with earnest conviction as they pirouette through lilting pan-African forms reminiscent of the seminal late sixties recordings by the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Pharoah Sanders and Archie Shepp. "Dust From A Mountain" is the album's most esoteric cut, a pastoral meditation conjured from the entrancing combination of cedar flute, balafon, clarinet and muted trumpet.



A welcome return to the studio from one of today's most esteemed working groups, Petit Oiseau is one of Parker's most accessible and enjoyable releases.


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

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Return to the Future CD/LP/Track Review
Return to the Future
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 17, 2018
Read Telepathy CD/LP/Track Review
Telepathy
by Chris Mosey
Published: November 17, 2018
Read The Whole Thing Is Just There CD/LP/Track Review
The Whole Thing Is Just There
by John Bricker
Published: November 17, 2018
Read Haydn: Symphony No. 39, Symphony No. 87, Mozart – Sinfonia Concertante CD/LP/Track Review
Haydn: Symphony No. 39, Symphony No. 87, Mozart –...
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: November 17, 2018
Read Rogue Star CD/LP/Track Review
Rogue Star
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 17, 2018
Read Out in the Open CD/LP/Track Review
Out in the Open
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 16, 2018
Read "Contra la indecision" CD/LP/Track Review Contra la indecision
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 10, 2018
Read "6 Mulleres" CD/LP/Track Review 6 Mulleres
by Don Phipps
Published: September 1, 2018
Read "The Nobuki Takamen Trio" CD/LP/Track Review The Nobuki Takamen Trio
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 23, 2018
Read "Octet Vol. 2" CD/LP/Track Review Octet Vol. 2
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 29, 2017
Read "Nighthawks" CD/LP/Track Review Nighthawks
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: December 2, 2017
Read "This World of Dew" CD/LP/Track Review This World of Dew
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: July 16, 2018