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William Parker: Embracing The Unknown

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His is one of the most distinctive and respected voices on double bass today. William Parker, the tireless composer, multi-instrumentalist, educator and poet, is still today omnipresent on the contemporary free jazz scene. What's more, he has been consistently for the last four decades. The William Parker Sessionography: A Work in Progress by Rick Lopez clocks in at just below 500 pages, and, as the title suggests, it hasn't finished growing. In it are of course referenced his many acclaimed ...


Troy Collins' Best Releases of 2017

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Considering the quantity of recordings released in a year's time, attempting to compile a comprehensive end of the year list mentioning every first-rate session would be difficult at best. The ten titles listed below represent a fertile cross-section of some of the most compelling modern jazz heard in 2017. William Parker Quartets Meditation/Resurrection (AUM Fidelity) The common thread running through both sets of this diverse double-album is the camaraderie William Parker enjoys with ...


William Parker Quartets: Meditation / Resurrection

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Bassist William Parker's Quartets (note the plural) presented here are, of course just a fraction of the ensembles he is currently organizing and working in. It is these 2 quartets that manifest the Yin and Yang that is Parker. The question might be, is his Quartet of trumpeter Jalalu-Kalvert Nelson, alto saxophonist Rob Brown, and drummer Hamid Drake,  the Yang, or positive/active/male principal in nature, and his In Order To Survive quartet with pianist Cooper-Moore switching with Nelson the Yin, ...


Toxic: Mat Walerian/Matthew Shipp/William Parker: This Is Beautiful Because We Are Beautiful People

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Polish multi-instrumentalist Mat Walerian is on the verge of reserving his seat in the pantheon of groundbreaking hornmen who recorded for the late Bernard Stollman's storied ESP-Disk' label. Not as frenetic as Frank Wright, nor as strident as Sonny Simmons, Walerian instead boasts a singular approach that binds Eastern influence and blues sensibility with fluent, legato phrasing, often reminiscent of Marion Brown's lyrical finesse. His first two live recordings for ESP--The Uppercut: Live at Okuden (2015) with Matthew Shipp and ...


I Am Not Your Negro: History Revisited through a Personal Lens

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I Am Not Your Negro Narrator: Samuel L. Jackson Director: Raoul Peck Distributor: Velvet Films This electrifying docu-drama invoking the eloquent words and profound personal experience of the great writer James Baldwin brings to life the stormy and transformational period of the Civil Rights movement in a way that is far more vivid than the images many saw on their small TV screens in the 1960s. The images, sound track, Baldwin's ...


William Parker: 65th Birthday Celebration Concert at the Painted Bride

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William Parker and Friends Painted Bride Arts Center William Parker 65th Birthday Celebration Philadelphia, PA January 21, 2017 To celebrate the 65th birthday of legendary bassist William Parker, the Painted Bride Arts Center, Ars Nova Workshop, and Bobby Zankel's Warriors of the Wonderful Sound joined forces to sponsor a top of the line sextet including Parker in the catbird seat and Zankel at the helm. For those who don't know about Parker, he ...


Jakob Baekgaard's Best Releases Of 2016

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The world seems more uncertain than ever before, but in times of uncertainty, music provides comfort and a hope that it is actually possible to communicate across borders, whether they be physical or psychological. Among the releases that caught my attention this year, the one that meant most to me by far is not on this list, and it was not even reviewed on All About Jazz, not by me or any other writer. Bassist, composer and ...


Dave Cappello & Jeff Albert with William Parker: New Normal

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If sentimentality is the synonym of nostalgia, then the antonym is anticipation, and maybe a better word would be modernity. That word comes to mind spinning the trio recording New Normal by trombonist Jeff Albert, drummer Dave Cappello and their guest, bassist William Parker. Sentimentality is often associated with New Orleans, the birthplace of jazz. While the uninitiated (and a certain musical family from NOLA) often look backwards to sounds of a bygone era, let us not forget ...


John Dikeman/William Parker/Hamid Drake: Live at La Resistenza

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The subtitle to Charles Mingus' composition “Gunslinging Bird" is “If Charlie Parker was a gunslinger, there'd be a whole lot of dead copycats," refers to the great alto saxophonist's ability to dominate a bandstand and quiet any and all comers. Parker, who died in 1955, might not have known about automatic weapons, nor the free jazz revolution which was to come in the following decade, but he certainly would appreciate a machine gunner like saxophonist John Dikeman. For ...


Giving Birth to Sound: Women in Creative Music

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Giving Birth to Sound: Women in Creative Music Renate Da Rin (ed.) and William Parker (coed.) 294 Pages ISBN: 978-3-00-049279-2 Buddy's Knife 2015 Every time a book about music is written, the history of music is also rewritten and musicians are included or left out, and old and new myths rejected or confirmed. This is something that many authors are conscious about, but seldom an issue that is addressed. Therefore, it is ...